09 September 2021, Memphis, TN: Indigo Ag, a company leveraging nature and technology to unlock economic and environmental progress in agriculture, today announced the disbursement of initial payments to the inaugural cohort of Carbon by Indigo participants. The 267 paid growers are the first to implement on-farm practice changes and provide the data required to ensure the rigorous measurement and validation of resulting emissions reduction and removals according to registry protocols. In doing so, they have helped pave a path for the scaled production of carbon credits as a new income stream for farmers, demonstrating the emerging market’s potential as a real and meaningful instrument for mitigating the drivers of climate change.
Carbon by Indigo is the first carbon farming program to provide outcomes-based, direct payments to growers at scale – a milestone enabled by the successful filing of a monitoring plan detailing the data and methods used to generate the program’s inaugural crop. Final credit calculations, generated and made public upon completion of a rigorous third-party verification process currently underway according to the Climate Action Reserve’s “Soil Enrichment Protocol,” will result in the world’s first crop of high-quality, registry-issued agricultural carbon credits generated at scale this Spring 2022.
With plans for expanded eligibility to a total of 28 states also announced today, 78% of US cropland is now poised to respond to mounting demand for high-quality credits which has already resulted in a credit price increase of 35% in the first year of the program. Now, beginning with the 2022 crop year, farmers across Wisconsin, Michigan, Alabama, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are also eligible to begin farming carbon with the end-to-end support of Indigo’s farmer-first program.
“For farmers to participate in the ag carbon market with confidence, they need trust that all partners joining them on that journey — from their agronomic advisors through credit buyers — want to see them come out on top,” said Chris Harbourt, Global Head of Carbon at Indigo Ag. “Our program brings together exactly those partners to ensure farmers have choices that maximize upside in their participation. Backed by confidence in our scientifically rigorous quantification methods and the development of a committed buyer network, these initial payments are just the beginning as they represent progress toward the inaugural carbon crop year and an important milestone in this work.”
The cohort’s carbon farming efforts represent a wide range of experience adopting beneficial practice changes in the 2019 and 2020 crop years. Overall participation spanned 19 states, included 15 unique crop types and over 50 unique practice change combinations, and varied from implementation on just one field to practice change on 85. The initial payments represent an advance on the program’s expected first-year vesting (50%). Farmers will receive the remainder of these payments in subsequent years, in addition to further income generated as a result of their ongoing beneficial farming efforts including through continuation of practices, additional practice adoption, or expanded enrolled acreage in future crop years.
“There’s always uncertainty with any practice change. It can be daunting to try a new practice that you’re not very familiar with. But in farming, if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. Indigo has given us the opportunity and support to improve our land and our income,” said Christopher Lehe of Brookston, Indiana, who counts nearly four thousand acres currently enrolled in the program. “As the carbon credit market expands, our income can keep growing with increasing carbon prices and our increasing carbon impact, because we’re not just getting paid for our practice changes. We’re getting paid top dollar for what we’re accomplishing. We’re only getting started, and the income potential is a huge incentive for us to expand these practices.”
Since Indigo first launched its Carbon by Indigo program in 2019, recognition of the economic and environmental benefits that techniques such as min-tillage, nitrogen efficiency, and cover cropping present has increased dramatically. Likewise, interest by and support for carbon farmers has also grown. Today, Carbon by Indigo proudly represents over 3.3 million participating acres, a cohort of 14 leading organizations committed to purchasing issued credits, and recently announced industry collaborations with Corteva and GROWMARK to further support farmers in these efforts.