Soil Carbon Initiative launches new regenerative farm certification
Published: March 29, 2022
Category: Regenerative Agriculture
First-of-its-kind regenerative agriculture seeking 100 farmers to begin go-to-market pilots this spring.
The Soil Carbon Initiative (SCI), the first-ever independently verified, outcomes-based regenerative agriculture certification program open to all farms and companies in the food supply chain, announced its newest 2022 pilots focused on farmers. While SCI’s earlier pilots concentrated on the technical aspects of soil testing protocols, the 2022 Go-to-Market Pilots build on that work by inviting farmers to apply for 100 new spots to benefit from information, market access, networking opportunities, and SCI labeling to verify progress to companies and consumers. The deadline to apply is April 5, 2022.
SCI was launched in 2019 in partnership with over 150 farms, companies, NGOs and soil scientists. The initiative is a commitment and verification program that empowers and incentivizes farmers and the food supply chain to transition acreage to regenerative management. It drives soil health, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water quality, climate resiliency, food security, farm profitability, and improved rural community economics.
Alisa Gravitz, president and CEO of Green America, said: “The Soil Carbon Initiative is a world-changing commitment and verification program designed to address the soil health and climate crises, scale regenerative agriculture and contribute to farm prosperity.”
Erin Gorman, SCI director and Maryland-based farmer, said: “We welcome all producers who are interested in beginning or deepening their soil health journey to join our Go-to-Market pilots.”
Benefits to farmers participating in the 2022 Go-to-Market Pilots Program include:
- Information: Access to the world’s best soil health tests that provide real data on soil health progress–and interpretive guidance and planning for the producer’s best next steps, depending on farm goals, since every farm is different
- Farm Profitability: Focusing on soil health helps farms reduce input costs and increase profitability
- Network: Farmers who are part of the Go-to-Market pilots become part of SCI’s Founding Farmer network to exchange ideas with other farmers—and provide advice to shape the future of SCI
- Market: SCI helps farmers get ready for the growing market of companies and consumers looking to connect with farms focusing on soil health and climate outcomes.
- Label & Verification: Earn the SCI label to verify your progress to companies and consumers
- 2022 Financial Benefits: Pilot costs are covered for soil health tests and a cost share for expert regenerative consultants
- 2023 and Beyond Financial Benefits: Annual fees will always be waived for members of the SCI Founding Farmers network, and members have first eligibility for the SCI Farm Fund for transition investments and ongoing dividends (starting in 2023).
Backed by farmers and other leaders in this space, the standard is designed to be practical, accessible and both farmer- and business-friendly. It is open to any company and farmer, in any production system.
Scott Park at Park Farming in Meridian, California, said: “SCI was clearly designed with farmers in mind. It meets farmers wherever they are on their journey to regeneration and is particularly helpful to farmers who are just starting out.”
Steve Tucker at Tucker Farms in Rome, Georgia, said: “SCI is the most encompassing soil health program that I have ever seen, and the fact that it is non-exclusive with other certifications makes it even better! There are so many great aspects to SCI—access to guidance and support with farm planning, an emphasis on outcomes and progress, and the opportunity to improve farm profitability and market recognition.”
Raquel Krach at Massa Organics in Glenn, California, said: “Having a solid farm plan is a critical tool that farmers need to succeed with regenerative agriculture. By providing education and guidance, SCI can ensure that farmers who enroll in this program have the best chance to get it right from the start.”
Conventional agriculture is a leading source of climate impact and causes continual topsoil loss, costing the U.S. more than a trillion dollars every year. Restoring soil health and its natural ability to draw down atmospheric carbon is a critical step to addressing these climate and soil crises.
The Soil Carbon Initiative’s outcome-based verified standard also gives food producers and manufacturers the ability to measure and motivate soil health improvements. Producers in any system—conventional, organic, non-GMO, biodynamic—are eligible for SCI verification. Centered in the Climate Smart discussion and based on demonstrated soil health and carbon sequestration results, the SCI standard rewards commitments, improvement, and achievement in soil health and soil carbon.
SCI independent verification is conducted by SCS Global in Emeryville, California, and soil health testing by Regen Ag Labs in Pleasanton, Nebraska. For more information, go to https://www.soilcarboninitiative.org/pilots.
Organic & Non-GMO Insights April 2022