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    Accelerating Progress with Indigo Ag’s Third Carbon Crop

    February 29, 2024

    This week, Indigo Ag announced its third crop of verified, registry-issued carbon credits. This third crop of carbon credits solidifies Indigo’s leadership position, generating the highest quality credits from regenerative agriculture. Indigo remains the only project developer to utilize the Climate Action Reserve’s Soil Enrichment Protocol to generate carbon credits through incentivizing agricultural practices that enhance the accumulation of soil organic carbon. Indigo’s carbon program is showcasing the holistic benefits of mitigating climate change through sustainable agriculture, delivering benefits to the grower, the soil, and the crops—and doing it at scale.  


    Credits from Indigo’s third carbon crop are one part of Indigo’s offering to companies taking action to reduce and compensate for the climate footprint of their operations. As a direct result of sustainable practices adopted by growers and incentivized by Indigo, greenhouse gas emissions are abated or sequestered. Emissions and sequestrations are measured and modeled against what would have happened without actions taken by Indigo and the growers. Indigo’s carbon program follows the accounting guidance of the Climate Action Reserve’s (CAR) Soil Enrichment Protocol v1.1 to quantify the benefits of sustainable practice changes made on growers’ fields and then monetizes the credits issued through the CAR registry.  


    Indigo’s carbon program has relied on the most rigorous science and standards to generate carbon credits. Actions incentivized by Indigo and implemented by growers are empirically validated to increase soil carbon and reduce emissions of other GHGs. The Soil Enrichment Protocol, developed by the Climate Action Reserve, offers a meticulous framework for projects like Indigo’s to harness the soils’ ability to sequester carbon to generate credits with confidence. The process starts with data collection and ends with careful review from third-party verifiers and the Climate Action Reserve before issuing credits.  

    • Data Collection and Validation – At the heart of any GHG accounting is accurate data. Indigo provides growers with multiple avenues to enter data and is investing in making this process ever easier. Lowering the burden of data collection is the best tool in increasing the accuracy of the data and increasing impact of the project. This Carbon harvest saw a 9x increase in data from automated sources, including data already collected by platforms like MyJohnDeere and FSA 578. There has also been an increased focus on meeting growers where they live, using existing relationships with partner organizations to avoid additional demands on grower time. 
    • Soil Sampling – In-situ field measurements of soil carbon and bulk density underpin the understanding of soil carbon accumulation and provide a basis in reality for when we model across the project. While we currently rely on long-established scientific methods for sampling and analysis, Indigo continually evaluates the latest techniques and technologies for soil characterization in order to scale the project while increasing our accuracy and/or reducing cost and effort.  
    • Modeling – Biogeochemical models used for credit generation must be rigorously calibrated and validated, then independently reviewed and approved by a third-party modeling expert. Indigo uses DayCent-CR to ingest farmer data and field observations to quantify the impact of sustainable practice changes. Continuous improvements are happening here, too, adding new crops to the model domain and publishing and improving the science as we go (see our 2023 publication in Geoderma). 
    • Reporting and Documentation – Indigo delivers a detailed data package and comprehensive supporting documents to the third-party verifier. This dossier essentially amounts to an owner’s manual of our project, driving transparency. We benefit from every round of verification making changes to our data package and supporting documents to make it easier to digest our process, accelerating verification and driving transparency. 
    • Verification – Third-party verifiers must be ANAB-accredited against ISO standards and trained by the Climate Action Reserve, the same organization that authored the protocol, to qualify to verify our project. The verifier reviews our data and processes to ensure that they align with protocol guidance.  This includes visiting growers throughout the country, viewing fields and supporting evidence. Deploying technology during verification speeds the process and increases transparency, allowing verifiers to interview grower who are states apart in the same day! 
    CARBON CROP III BY THE NUMBERS: An Increasing Rate of Gain 
    • 163,048 Carbon Credits, 50% more than CCII 
    • Enough CO2 to fill the Las Vegas MSG Sphere 54x! 
     • 3x increase in fields over CCII 
    • 2x increase in growers over CCII 
    • 2.5x more acres than over CCII
    Nearly 300,000 total CRTs in the project’s history


    Indigo’s fourth carbon crop harvest is already well underway, with growers finalizing their data and our team of agronomic data experts and our automated systems reviewing and validating the data. We are particularly excited about Carbon Crop IV bringing an advanced understanding of our sequestration effects from a newly validated model version. Additionally, members of our team are serving as experts on the Climate Action Reserve’s working group to further update the Soil Enrichment Protocol, leveraging our experience and lessons learned over the past three verifications to improve the standards and increase the scale of soil carbon sequestration across the board.

    Ryan Pape is Indigo Ag.'s Sustainability MRV Manager.  He draws from 20 years of experience in ag research and development to our common pursuit of ag sustainability solutions.  Ryan has been a student of ag all over the country, understanding row crops in Iowa to hops in Oregon, where he currently lives.