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Winrock International

American Carbon Registry Approves Expansion of Rice Sector Emissions Reduction Opportunities to the US Mid-South

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (March 17, 2014) — American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International today announced approval of Mid-South modules for its first-of-a-kind carbon offset methodology to quantify greenhouse gas reductions from rice production. The Mid-South modules of the methodology for Emission Reductions in Rice Management Systems were developed by Terra Global Capital LLC in partnership with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Applied Geosolutions, LLC, and White River Irrigation District and funded through a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant.

The ACR rice management methodology and newly approved Mid-South modules provide a comprehensive framework for developing projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate marketable carbon offset credits. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 greenhouse gas inventory, the U.S. agriculture sector is responsible for 526 million metric tons, or 8% of domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year, which presents an enormous opportunity for the adoption of voluntary conservation practices that reduce emissions.

Rice cultivation is the third largest source of methane emissions in the sector, and the top two rice producing states, Arkansas and California, are responsible for over half of U.S. emissions from rice production. The approval of the Mid-South rice modules therefore marks an important milestone in broadening the opportunities for agriculture producers to participate in carbon markets, incentivizing adoption of voluntary emissions reduction practices.

“Consistent with our parent Winrock’s commitment to sustainable agriculture, one of ACR’s primary objectives is to advance innovative approaches to support low emissions practices in agriculture by strengthening the scientific and market infrastructure for agricultural GHG mitigation,” said John Kadyszewski, ACR director. “We are excited to announce approval of the Mid-South modules and to see projects come to market in both California as well as in Arkansas, Winrock’s home state and the country’s leading rice producer.”

Under the methodology, 3.4 million acres are eligible to generate carbon offset credits throughout the Mid-South and California. Arkansas accounts for 1.8 million eligible acres. Other Mid-South states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas account for an additional 1.3 million eligible acres. ACR estimates the potential emissions reductions resulting from implementing the practice changes in the new methodology to be significant – over one million tons in the next 10 years.