Carbon credits are gaining momentum in the world of agriculture.
Once a little-known concept, many farmers are now hoping to tap into their enormous potential.
But what actually are carbon credits, how do they work, and most importantly, how can they benefit your farm?
Let’s take a look.
WHAT ARE CARBON+ CREDITS FROM AGRICULTURE?
A carbon credit is a certificate stating that one metric ton of CO2 has been removed or reduced from the atmosphere. They take various forms, including nature-based and technology-based.
When it comes to farming, carbon credits are created based on the CO2 you draw down from the atmosphere into your soil through the implementation of regenerative agriculture.
At its core, regenerative agriculture entails enhancing farm systems through soil restoration.
Beyond that, though, the restoration of soil also entails the accumulation of carbon. And here, we have the opportunity for farmers to sell Carbon+ Credits. By generating a new revenue stream while restoring the land, you can simultaneously build your farm business’ economic and ecological resilience.
HOW DO CARBON CREDITS WORK?
Carbon+ Credits can be thought of as any other product produced on the farm.
For example, you grow your crop and take it to market, where someone buys it. When it comes to Carbon+ Credits, you implement practices on your farm that increase the carbon in the soil, which can then be sold on the voluntary carbon market.
Furthermore, if you produce a crop to sell, the buyer will want to know the quantity and quality of the crop. Grain handlers will conduct quality control and maintenance to achieve a high standard.
The same can also be said when it comes to Carbon+ Credits. Climate Farmers can be thought of as the grain handlers – quality and quantity checks are conducted through scientific modelling and measurement of soil carbon. At the same time, we also coordinate sales on the market to generate your revenue.
THE ONBOARDING PROCESS
The process of generating Carbon+ Credits is smooth and easy, from start to finish.
You first provide some basic information about your farm business, such as your current practices, future plans and location. You’ll then receive a basic estimation of how many carbon credits you can generate.
Following this, you’ll have the chance to join a call to get answers to any of your open questions. If you decide to proceed with your enrollment, you send us additional details, such as legal documents and photos. We’ll then prepare and send your contract.
After your onboarding, you start implementing additional regenerative practices on your farm. You’ll gather data on the field after one year, while Climate Farmers conducts the first monitoring round.
Using this data, we calculate how much carbon has been sequestered, and you receive your first payment.
WHICH FARMING PRACTICES GENERATE CARBON CREDITS?
There are several farming practices typically associated with regenerative management. Many of these are included in our Carbon+ model.
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that when it comes to regenerative agriculture, context is everything. Just because a particular regenerative approach succeeds on one farm doesn’t mean it’s destined for success on another.
Mapping out your business goals while accounting for your production model, topography, soil type, landscape design, weather conditions and desired economic outcomes is crucial.
In doing so, your farm can thrive at its best.
For inspiration and advice on implementing regenerative agriculture, you can join the Climate Farmers Community.
Adaptive Multi-Paddock Grazing
is a form of rotational livestock grazing in which a large number of animals graze a small area of land for a short timeframe. Long periods of rest are then granted to the land to accelerate grass growth and recovery. The system mimics the natural pattern of dense herds of wild animals that frequently move by the forces of predation and food availability. Scientific studies have documented the enormous potential for AMP grazing methods to capture carbon and improve ecosystem health.
is a collective name for land-use systems in which woody perennials (trees, shrubs, bushes etc.) are deliberately used on the same land as crops or grasslands. The selection of species used is based on the individual farm context, desired outcomes and economic considerations. Agroforestry delivers several benefits, including generating new income streams, improving soil structure and carbon sequestration.
Multi-species cover crops
refer to sowing plant species that are used primarily to improve the soil. They can be implemented before, during or after a cash crop. Multi-species cover crops include three plant species, being grass, legume and a flowering plant. Cover crops keep the soil covered to prevent erosion, improve soil structure, regulate moisture and attract an abundance of biodiversity. Leaving residues of the cover crop in the field is very beneficial for building up soil organic carbon.
Residue left on site
involves leaving organic materials on a field after the crop has been harvested, such as stalks, stubble, leaves and seed pods. The intention is to keep the soil covered, limit nutrient loss and build organic matter. Crop residues are important resources, not only as a source of nutrients for the crops that follow but also for boosting carbon sequestration.
Hay, straw, manure and/or compost application
refers to the direct application of organic matter. Adding organic matter improves several soil characteristics, including water infiltration rate and biological activity. It positively impacts soil organic carbon accumulation and can lead to increased productivity.
Reduced /no synthetic fertilisers
includes limiting the application of synthetic inputs on the farm, namely nitrogen-based ones. Farmers then transition to the use of organic inputs such as compost or manure. Minimising synthetic fertiliser application reduces nitrous oxide emissions and leaching, therefore limiting negative environmental impacts such as groundwater pollution. It’s a powerful way to decrease input expenses while increasing the overall health of the farm.
Minimum or no-till
refers to limiting soil disturbance that occurs from tilling, ploughing, disking, chiselling or any other form of soil cultivation. Instead, no-till equipment is used to minimise disruption. The benefits are manifold, including increased biological activity, reduced erosion and improved water retention.
Reduction of fossil fuel usage
involves decreasing emissions on the farm. Carbon+ Credits are calculated both from the carbon you remove from the atmosphere and reductions in the business. Management practices such as no-till limit fossil fuel usage, while the transition to renewable energy can also be utilised. In turn, this can significantly reduce business expenses while increasing Carbon+ Credits.
From increased profits, resilience to extreme weather events, water security and farm productivity, the benefits of regenerative agriculture are unparalleled.
By participating in our Carbon+ Program, you can improve the health of your farm and boost your bottom line, all whilst accessing a new income stream to support you along the way.
Do you want support for implementing regenerative agriculture?