U.S. farmers are celebrating a monumental carbon farming milestone — rapid receipt of over $1.2 million in carbon payments. The payments were made upfront on a per-acre basis to over 40 growers through CarbonNOW, a globally recognized carbon farming program from Locus Agricultural Solutions (Locus AG). Farmers received the initial compensation within 8 months of joining CarbonNOW — making it the fastest prepayment from any agricultural carbon farming program.
The efficient upfront payments are crucial for farmers making practice changes amid rising gas, fertilizer and seed prices, along with equipment and material shortages. The CarbonNOW payments also pave the way for broader farmer participation in carbon farming.
“It’s important for farmers to see financial compensation early on for the time dedicated to a carbon farming program, plus co-benefits to help ensure a successful growing season,” said Travis Kraft, Locus AG’s director of row crops and CarbonNOW carbon farming expert. “With CarbonNOW, farmers don’t have to wait years for payment. They get guaranteed money upfront with no program fees, plus the chance for bonuses.”
Farmers Face Financial Hesitations with Carbon Farming Programs
There are almost 900 million acres of farmland in the U.S., but only a small fraction of them are part of a carbon market. Many farmers across the country have investigated carbon farming as a new source of revenue to overcome the shrinking margins of the agriculture market. However, they are often faced with lengthy wait times for payment, program fees and lower-than-anticipated payouts.
According to Kraft, there are three important financial details farmers should ask about a carbon farming program to select the best option:
- What is the total dollar amount they’ll be paid for their carbon?
- How long will it take to receive that carbon payment?
- How much will it cost to participate in the carbon farming program?
“The CarbonNOW team and its carbon partners held up their end of the deal and came through on their promises,” said CarbonNOW farmer Scott Scheimer, owner of Scheimer Farms and Simple Farms, LLC. “When you’re in a tight-margin industry like agriculture, it’s important to establish relationships with people that are experts in these fields and be able to trust their input.”
CarbonNOW Carbon Farming Program Provides Guaranteed Carbon Payments
The CarbonNOW carbon farming program was developed to overcome financial hesitations that hinder farmer participation in carbon markets. It is the first carbon program to offer guaranteed annual minimums with upfront cash payments, accruing performance bonuses and no program fees.
“The upfront CarbonNOW payments helped me cover the increasing operational expenses we’re facing—fuel, fertilizer and product costs,” said CarbonNOW farmer Todd Olander, owner of Olander Farms and Root Shoot Malting. “With Locus AG’s carbon farming program, we can add more value than just growing commodity crops, and help sustain our farming long-term.”
Farmers Use Qualifying Soil Probiotics for Additional Financial Benefits
Many of the farmers that were part of the $1.2 million carbon payments were able to join CarbonNOW despite not qualifying for other carbon farming programs. That’s because CarbonNOW provides access to novel microbial soil amendments, or soil probiotics, that count as a required regenerative agriculture practice change.
In addition to broader eligibility, the soil probiotics also accelerate profitability for the farmer and enable potential performance bonuses by:
- increasing carbon sequestration
- enhancing nutrient uptake
- boosting crop productivity / yields
Locus AG’s CarbonNOW experts help farmers track these co-benefits through free-of-charge, on-farm soil testing and third-party validations.
“Incorporating Locus AG’s soil probiotics is a minimal practice change that doesn’t require different infrastructure or equipment that you may not have, or require changes in how you farm that you may not want,” said Illinois CarbonNOW farmer, Mark Boston. “Farmers should look at the differences in the carbon farming programs out there. That’s what made CarbonNOW make the most sense for me.”
Strategic Partnerships Ensure Program Security Carbon Market Expertise
The carbon farming payments are made possible through a partnership between Locus AG and Anew Climate, LLC (“Anew”, formerly Bluesource). As one of the largest carbon project developers, Anew holds the scientific and marketing expertise to bring these premium carbon credits to the marketplace for corporate buyers looking to align their net-zero or carbon neutral initiatives with agricultural co-benefits. Funding for the upfront payments was provided by Green Star Royalties Ltd, a pure-green subsidiary of Star Royalties Ltd.
The agriculture carbon credits from the $1.2 million payments have already received purchase commitments from carbon buyers.
“Anew’s Agri-carbon solutions for partners such as Locus AG are designed to create and sustain
value by maximizing incentives and returns to the growers, such that as many as possible join the program, adopt regenerative practices, and stay in it for the long term,” stated Jamie MacKinnon, Anew Agri-carbon senior vice president. “Growers enrolling in the CarbonNOW program are telling us they find the hands-on support, upfront per-acre payments, and upside potential from performance payments to be compelling incentives.”
The CarbonNOW carbon farming program was recently expanded to 1.32 million U.S. agriculture acres. Growing interest from farmers and carbon credit buyers is leading to additional plans for further reach. For more information on how to participate, visit LocusAG.com/CarbonNOW. Interested buyers may connect with [email protected] to learn more.