The Journey to A New Harvest: Why We Need Quality Agricultural Carbon Credits

    September 13, 2022

    Last month, the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law. In it, agriculture finally receives top billing alongside climate solutions like direct air capture, energy impact reductions, and electric vehicles. We can’t afford to wait for these other innovations to mature. With photosynthesis, Mother Nature has already given us the greatest, most effective carbon removal technology.

    We started this scientific journey in 2019 to unlock the power of nature to remove carbon from the atmosphere by incentivizing farmers to produce the most scientifically rigorous agricultural carbon credits possible. Three years of long days, late nights, and collaboration across sectors ensued.

    Then, on June 29, 2022, a group of farmers, scientists, verifiers, and corporate sustainability leaders came together at the Chicago Board of Trade building to mark a historical moment — the completed production of nearly 19,000 high-value agricultural carbon credits, the first of their kind at scale to be issued by the Climate Action Reserve. Seeing years of hard work by many collaborators come to fruition was a meaningful reminder that we can come together, as a planet and as a society, to get something done for the first time.  

    These credits are unique: The scientific rigor that underpins them, the independent verification achieved, the unprecedented quality standards and the integrity behind the process. For the first time, we’ve used science and technology to measure and verify, at an unprecedented commercial scale, the removal of carbon from the atmosphere through the pioneering efforts of 175 farmers.

    This allows us to have a new benchmark to support the development of a robust, valuable agricultural carbon market. It is vital for our farmers, our partners and, most importantly, our planet. This moment signaled an exciting opportunity for farmers to lead the way in tackling the enormous challenge climate change presents while at the same time accessing a new revenue stream. 

    Climate change is possibly the biggest challenge we face today. The science around climate change is clear. If we continue on our current trajectory, the outcome will be catastrophic. The recent IPCC report highlighted that if we don’t make drastic carbon reductions by 2030, we will go through a gate of no return. 

    But we have resources here to help. Soil is one of the largest carbon sinks we have. By adopting sustainable agricultural practices, we estimate that farmers can capture and store more than 5 billion tons of carbon in healthy soil by 2030. Now, thanks to cutting edge science and technology, the opportunity is here for farmers to take part in this opportunity without sacrificing their ability to feed, fuel, as well as clothe the planet. 

    In the near future, we’ll see more farmers dedicating more acres to these practices resulting in higher yields of carbon credits ready to harvest. This is what’s most exciting to me. We have created a repeatable, defined process that’s predictable and creates a new valuable revenue stream for farmers. This new revenue stream will enable the farmer’s journey to carbon farming and sustainable practices. Not only here in the U.S., but around the world. 

    When I look at the carbon credit prices from when we started our journey to now, we’ve watched the price double in the last two years. As we met with buyers of credits from the corporations, the folks who are going after their net zero, we’ve now arrived at $40 a credit. And there's so much more demand behind that. 

    Through this broad collaboration, we’re going to continue to push the boundaries for quality and integrity. This means the methodologies that ensure the essential attributes like additionality, permanence, and realness, stay center stage and get stronger. This will be supported by the highest scientific rigor, and these credits will always be independently verified. 

    We’ll be focusing on adding more farmers to the network. And that again is a global statement of what we can do. This will set the standard of quality and integrity, which earns the trust of farmers around the world and trust of the credit buyers within the system. This means when a farmer joins a carbon program, like Carbon by Indigo, they can confidently expect to improve their farm, their profitability, and the planet.

    It took all of us to get to this New Harvest. It’s the culmination of a multi-year global collaboration, featuring many smart, dedicated, and extraordinarily hardworking people who brought this to life. This achievement shows that when we are united in the same vision, agriculture can offer an immediate, scalable, and affordable solution to the climate crisis.

    Farmers and the ag industry are ready to show they contribute much more than just food and fuel for our success – they proudly steward our shared natural resources for positive impact, below and above the ground.

    We all share one atmosphere. Now, with the support of the Inflation Reduction Act, agriculture is one step closer to not only feeding the planet, but also saving it.


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    A New Harvest

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