Cargill-led fund to pay U.S. farmers for carbon capture, advance conservation efforts
Published: June 2, 2020
Category: Regenerative Agriculture, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
Grain processing giant Cargill, Inc. has launched a new program to pay U.S. farmers for capturing carbon in their soils and reducing fertilizer runoff.
The Soil & Water Outcomes Fund, which is a partnership with the Iowa Soybean Association and third-party verification company Quantified Ventures, will then sell the environmental credits created to polluters such as cities and companies, including Cargill itself, said Ryan Sirolli, director of row crop sustainability at Cargill, in an interview with Reuters.
The program aims to provide a welcome source of income to Midwest farmers who are facing financial challenges due to low grain prices and the trade war with China.
The program also aims to provide a solution to the environmental problems caused by industrial agriculture. Iowa and other Midwestern states are dealing with water quality problems due to agricultural input runoff.
Nearly 10,000 acres in Iowa are already enrolled in the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund. This year, the Fund aims to achieve an estimated 100,000 pounds of nitrogen reductions and 10,000 pounds of phosphorus reductions in water. Additionally, 7,500 tons of carbon dioxide will be sequestered in soils, an amount equivalent to removing 1,480 cars from the road. The intent is to scale the Fund into additional states and regions to realize even greater positive environmental impacts and farmer benefits.
The outcomes-based funding model aligns with Cargill’s strategic focus to develop scalable, public-private partnerships that enable farmers to improve soil health, carbon storage and water quality and access.
“Cargill is excited about the potential of this innovative approach to support and mitigate risk for farmers as they invest in soil health and other conservation best management practices,” Sirolli said. “We’re incentivizing more participants to implement best management practices that provide positive benefits for their business and the environment.”
Sources: Reuters, Iowa Soybean Association
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