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Partnership to address challenges in farmer carbon markets

TAGS: Business
A green carpet of cereal rye covers part of this harvested corn silage field in central Minnesota For comparison an adjoining strip of the field was left bare and vulnerable to wind and water erosion The cover crop was seeded Sept 13 at 75 lbs of seedacre The field received an inch of rain the next day The photo was taken 47 days later
Truterra and Nori create pilot project to help farmers translate existing farm data into potential carbon credits and new revenue.

Truterra LLC -- the sustainability business and subsidiary of Land O'Lakes Inc., one of America's largest farmer-owned cooperatives -- announced a new pilot project with Nori, a company using blockchain technology to create a new voluntary carbon removal marketplace. The pilot focuses on addressing a key infrastructure challenge holding back the development of an ecosystem services marketplace at scale: the ability to easily translate existing farm data that capture the carbon removal impact of on-farm conservation practices into potential carbon credits that could offer a new viable revenue stream for farmers.

Through the pilot, Truterra is syncing up its best-in-class technology, the Truterra Insights Engine -- which farmers use already to generate customized stewardship and profitability data and insights for each field and acre -- with Nori's carbon marketplace. Growers will be able to use the data they've already entered into the Truterra Insights Engine and other sources of farm data to submit to Nori, at no cost to them, to see the potential value of carbon credits they could generate as a result of the soil health-building practices they have implemented on their farms. Currently, farmers can be paid up to $15 per metric ton of carbon sequestered in the soil on Nori's marketplace.

The pilot will make it easier for growers to understand what they have to gain in a carbon market and to use that information to make decisions about their stewardship practices. Under the pilot, farmers will retain full ownership of their data – as they do at all times as part of the Truterra Insights Engine – and Nori can provide guidance on the amount of data to use to qualify for carbon credits.

"As a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes Inc., which is a farmer-owned company, Truterra is focused on developing new ways for our farmers to derive value both from their data and from the stewardship practices they have made the choice to implement on their farms," said Amanda Neely, Truterra senior manager, technology and innovation. "There's a lot of excitement and, frankly, some big promises out there about carbon markets and the potential for farmers to derive revenue from them, but private-sector markets are still in their early stages, and there are still many challenges to address before they can scale and become mainstream. This partnership is designed to identify and address those challenges and deliver real results and value for the planet and for our farmers, building on the improved profitability and better return on investment that farmers in the Truterra network may see as a result of implementing certain conservation practices."

"This is an amazing opportunity to scale with a partner whose goals are aligned with supporting farmer's needs and transitioning to more regenerative supply chains," Nori co-founder and chief development officer Christophe Jospe said. "Through this effort, we'll help reward farmers for storing carbon, find ways to more efficiently use farm-level operating data and new soil health monitoring and measurement techniques and build upon the learnings of our pilot to ensure that the Nori program works for the farmer first."

Truterra and Nori are working with a handful of farmers and agricultural retailers in the Truterra network to develop the pilot during this growing season, which will continue into the 2021-22 growing season. The partners will continue to add new agricultural retailer and farmer participants in the coming months.

The pilot partners will apply lessons learned to make carbon markets more accessible to Truterra's network and, ultimately, all of agriculture. Participating in the pilot will also give farmers and agricultural retailers in the Truterra network an opportunity to directly effect how farmers can be rewarded for good stewardship practices as carbon and ecosystem services markets become more mainstream.

This partnership is part of Truterra's broader efforts, in addition to its farmer-focused offerings, to create the market conditions to drive demand for stewardship by connecting the dots between consumers and what is happening on the farm.

In June 2020, Truterra vice president Jason Weller testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee on critical next steps the public and private sectors must take to support viable greenhouse gas and ecosystem markets at scale. Truterra is also a founding circle member of the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, which aims to develop resources to establish a successful ecosystems market, helping incentivize farmers and ranchers to adopt conservation management practices that help improve soil health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and further efforts to protect and improve water quality.

Truterra has also partnered with world-class companies in the food value chain that are interested in supporting voluntary approaches to helping farmers advance their sustainability, including the Campbell Soup Co., Tate & Lyle and Nestlé Purina.

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