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KY Farms Paid to Do Right By Nature

October 15, 2009

BEREA, Ky. - Some Kentucky landowners are getting back some of the time and money they invest through a program that compensates them for the carbon the trees on their property capture. Rodney Mullins is one of the first few to receive a check from a carbon credit program run by the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED). He owns a farm in Morgan County. By managing the woods on that land properly, and letting trees absorb carbon dioxide as they do naturally, he's now staring at an $11,000 check for helping to fight climate change.

"I'm getting paid for the good that my timber is doing in offsetting some of the industries that are big polluters of the air that we breathe."

Mullins says he was able to get involved in the program by piecing together his farm from a number of different parcels.

"Fragmentation is something that you see nowadays, people selling off chunks of the family farm and so forth. I was able to put together 820 acres."

Mullins was paid for the carbon his trees captured in 2007, and MACED also has credits set up for 2008 and 2009, so he says more good fortune literally is coming his way.

"Like I told someone a couple days ago, I feel like I'm getting paid for managing my farm for the good of the community, really."

The credits generated by the carbon Mullins' trees captured were purchased by the philanthropic Blue Moon Fund to compensate for the carbon its staff generates when traveling. MACED also hopes to sell the credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange. Currently they're trading at a low price, but that could change, depending on what Congress has in store for climate legislation.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY