Assembly Explores ‘Kelley Blue Book’ For Carbon

The state is taking an interest in carbon credits and how to assist farmers seeking additional revenue in the carbon market. This is one of the topics in our regular conversation with Rep. Travis Tranel, chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

A bill in the committee, AB419, would create a carbon calculator for farmers. Tranel compares the calculator to a ‘Kelley Blue Book’ for carbon credits and conservation practices.

“We believe, after having several meetings and talking with lots of stakeholders, in the future, when you sell milk or you sell a bushel of corn, whoever you’re selling that to… they might ask, how did you produce that?” Tranel says. “Did you no-till? How much fertilizer did you use? How much chemical did you use? Etcetera. And they’re going to have a calculation that they’re going to use to determine what they’re willing to pay you.”

The legislation aims to give farmers a sense of assurance on what their carbon is worth through the carbon calculator.

In addition to nuances in the industry, Tranel updates Mid-West Farm Report on legislation that has already passed. The Agricultural Road Improvement Program will invest $150 million in making long-term improvements to rural roads, bridges, and culverts used by people living in small rural communities throughout Wisconsin. Tranel was one of the authors of the bill. Gov. Tony Evers approved the dollars in June. Tranel says the Department of Transportation is putting together the spending plan for that money.

“What they’re considering doing is doing two separate rounds of funding, and they’re considering opening up the first round in January with a due date for those applications of March 15, 2024,” he says, adding that a selection committee will announce who gets the money in May 2024.

Tranel expects the process for the second round of funding to begin in August 2024.

“So far, I would say our office is pleased with the direction that DOT is headed, and we’re also pleased with the date it looks like they’re considering,” he says.

Earlier this month, the state Senate unanimously approved SB431, a bill that would boost milk hauling capacity. It extends a current allowance for milk hauling of 98,000 pounds over six axles to all liquid dairy products. The permit program aims to address the ongoing shortage of truck drivers and increase efficiency. Tranel says he’s optimistic that the Assembly Agriculture Committee would also look favorably on the legislation.