2001: Oklahoma Carbon Sequestration Enhancement Act passed
2008: Pilot program, verifier training, and soil carbon sampling begins
2010: Program implemented
Codified in Oklahoma Statute §27A-3-4-101
- Representative Clay Pope
- Representative James Covey
- Representative Jack Bonny
- Representative Paul Roan
- Senator Bruce Price
The Oklahoma Carbon Program (OCP) was created as a result of HB 1192 to achieve the co-benefits of addressing soil health for water quality, air quality and erosion prevention while supporting the profitability of agricultural producers. The program is the result of a partnership with state and federal agencies, private companies, nonprofits, universities and conservation districts. The OCP has a number of programs under its umbrella including the carbon offset pilot project, the Soil Carbon Sampling Program, the Carbon Sequestration Certification Program, and the Verifier Training Program.
The OCP pilot project began in 2008 to encourage best management practices, develop verification methods and test interest among landowners in carbon offsets. The pilot program was a partnership between the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACDs) and Oklahoma Western Farmers Electric Cooperative. The OACDs provided outreach, technical assistance, and administered the program. The Electric Co-op purchased carbon offsets from agricultural producers through three-year carbon contracts. Additional funding came from the Environmental Protection Agency 319 Nonpoint Source (NPS) Program.
The OCP Soil Carbon Sampling Program was designed to assess the sequestration potential of Oklahoma soils, collect baseline data of soil organic carbon, and create a standardized method to assess average sequestration rate for conservation projects. The sampling program is run by the Oklahoma State University.
The Carbon Sequestration Certification Program offers fee-based verification of carbon offsets. In addition, the OCP created the Verifier Training Program to provide verifiers for the Carbon Program. The Verifier Training has four levels (trainee, apprentice, independent verifier, senior verifier/ trainers). The verification component is conducted by conservation districts with support and consultation from NRCS.
Soil Health Definition:
From Oklahoma NRCS, “the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans”
- To provide financial opportunities to landowners by helping them participate in any future cap and trade or carbon offset market by allowing the Oklahoma Conservation Commission the authority to create and certify carbon offsets through soil organic carbon.
- To improve soil, water, and air quality by encouraging Oklahomans to voluntarily implement practices that sequester greenhouse gases.
Program Required Measurements:
- Avoided loss of sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus from producer’s land
- Estimated metric tons of CO2-e sequestered
Tools & Guidance:
- NRCS’s Soil Condition Index (SCI)
- The Oklahoma Conservation Commission provides the applicant with any additional guidance and tools necessary
- Oklahoma Carbon Program Methodology and Guidance
- EPA 319 Nonpoint Source (NPS) Program
- NRCS 2010 Conservation Innovation Grant
- Oklahoma Western Farmers Electric Cooperative
- Voluntary Carbon Market
- Offset payment is at $3.50/ metric ton of CO2e.
Practices eligible for funding:
- Marginal cropland to grass
- Riparian exclusion/buffer
- Oklahoma Conservation Commission
- Oklahoma Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
- Oklahoma Forestry Services
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality
- Conducted through the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD)
State Universities & Researchers:
- Oklahoma State University; The Soil, Water and Forage Analytical Laboratory. (Land-grant university)
- Langston University: Land-grant university
Agricultural Organizations & Technical Assistance:
Education & Advocacy Groups