$4M Paid to Farmers for Carbon Credits: What Truterra Says About Year One in the Carbon Market
Updated: May 13
Companies have been working hard to create solutions to offset their carbon footprint. As they have been putting the pieces of the puzzle together, America’s farmers have found themselves at the heart of this movement, contributing to a more sustainable future. Precision agriculture, specifically, plays a huge role in helping growers capitalize on this opportunity. In episode 22 of Precision Points Podcast we had a tactical conversation about the carbon market and how growers can get involved. Now, we are following up as Truterra completed their first year of paying growers for carbon sequestration.
In the fall of 2021, Truterra paid out more than $4.2 million to farmers through their initial carbon program, storing just over 200,000 tons. That being said, they recognize that this initial carbon storage is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building a more sustainable future.
“It’s one thing when there are one or two farmers in a particular county who are engaged in these practices. It’s a different ball game altogether when those practices become the local norm,” shared Mariah Murphy of Truterra. “That’s when you see the compounded value of this kind of effort in terms of both addressing climate change, as well as improving on-farm profitability and enhancing on-farm resilience in the face of more extreme weather events. These are powerful practices, but they require some specialized knowledge to do them well.”
Some of the key learnings shared through this initial carbon program revolve around how precision agriculture can contribute to the solution. The program underscored the importance of accurate field-level data. They found that the growers collecting and managing their data are in the best position to add value to their operation. This value can come by way of capitalizing on carbon credit programs, or just using their farm’s information to make more efficient input decisions, or taking action to improve overall soil health.
“Even if a farmer never participates in carbon or other ecosystem services markets, the data still indicates long-term profitability improvements are attached to proactively managing soil health,” said Murphy. “Recently, the Soil Health Institute wrapped up a multi-year research program that indicated net income increased for 85 percent of farmers growing corn and 88 percent of farmers growing soybeans when they adopted soil health management systems.”
While every farm’s journey is going to be different, every farmer has an opportunity to create a more sustainable and resilient future. Truterra will be offering a carbon program in 2022 that will offer industry-leading compensation for farmers who recently adopted selected conservation agriculture management practices. There will also be a new carbon market access program for those farmers who are ready to take the next step in their soil health journeys.
If you’re interested in learning more go to www.truterraag.com/carbonsurvey to see if you qualify.
About Mariah Murphy:
Mariah Murphy is the Sr. Manager Member Owner Engagement
for Truterra LLC, a division of Land O’ Lakes. She started with Land O’ Lakes in 2013 as a seed DSM with Winfield United in Nebraska before moving to Western Iowa in 2016. In her current role Mariah helps develop sustainability strategies for the cooperative owners of Land O’ Lakes and helps create an accessible market for their growers to the carbon market. Mariah attended Northwest Missouri State University where she majored in Agronomy and Horticulture. She currently resides in Missouri Valley, IA with her husband Mike and 2 year old son Wallis.