Truterra, the sustainability business of Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives, announced its 2022 carbon program, on the heels of high farmer interest and participation in its inaugural carbon program, launched in February 2021. Truterra’s 2021 offering made more than $4 million in cash payments upfront to participating farmers, who sequestered over 200,000 metric tons of carbon. The 2021 Truterra carbon offering delivered an average payment per participating farmer of $20,000, with some payments of more than $100,000.

The Truterra carbon program is rooted in the Land O’Lakes cooperative network, which touches about 50 percent of all U.S. harvested acres. In partnership with the Land O’Lakes network of agricultural retailer owners, Truterra focuses on delivering high quality field-level data, supporting science-based measurement and verification, and advancing industry-leading transparency. The Truterra carbon program is grounded in working through the agricultural retailer network of trusted agronomy advisors to connect farmers to carbon market opportunities. This results in both better agronomic insights to help farmers continuously improve their operations and enhanced carbon product credibility for buyers. Truterra believes this shared value is key to the long-term success and stability of a voluntary carbon market.

“It is critical for us to co-invest with our ag retailer partners along with farmers to support regenerative systems that will help farms become more resilient and derive the most value from every acre,” said Jason Weller, President, Truterra. "We have seen strong interest from farmers. They see the Truterra carbon program as not only a new revenue stream for their operations, but also an incentive to continue innovating and adopting new practices which help mitigate the damaging and costly impacts of a changing climate on both their operations and our nation’s food supply.”

New for 2022

In 2022, Truterra will offer two distinct approaches to encourage climate-smart practices and carbon storage in agricultural soils. The first is its 2022 carbon program, which is structured similarly to the Truterra 2021 carbon program and focuses on generating carbon assets in partnership with farmers who have recently adopted soil health management practices that store additional carbon in their soils. The second approach is designed as an on-ramp for farmers who are just getting started with climate-smart practices and are exploring options and seeking support to adopt soil health systems.

Farmers participating in the 2022 carbon program may be eligible for a one-time, upfront payment of $20 per ton of carbon based on recently adopted changes in soil health practices, including significant reduction in tillage and the addition of cover crops. Eligible cropping systems include corn, soybean, wheat, or cotton as part of farmers’ crop rotations.

New in 2022, Truterra is also launching a forward-looking approach for farmers implementing climate-smart practices for the first time and interested in potentially participating in carbon markets in the future. Truterra’s carbon market access program will engage and support farmers through the process of implementing new practices. Participating farmers may be eligible to receive one-time payments of up to $2 per acre for enrolling in the carbon market access program. Truterra will be developing and testing a suite of support services designed to streamline and facilitate conservation practice finance access, agronomic assistance, and data management.

Under this approach, farmers will maintain ownership and options with their carbon rights in current and future years and are not required to make a long-term commitment to maintain the practice changes if they are not the right fit for their operations. The program is all about helping farmers make the best decisions and support their adoption of soil health systems on their crop fields while also preparing their operations to potentially participate in carbon markets in the future. Importantly, at the end of crop year 2022 farmers may be eligible to receive an offer from Truterra for future carbon sequestration purchase offers in 2023 and beyond.

“I know that conservation practices are good for our families’ soils and productivity. We were interested in exploring what revenue could be available to support practices like cover cropping, strip-till, and no-till on our operation,” said Lukas Fricke, whose sixth-generation family operation participated in Truterra’s 2021 carbon offer. “To see actual dollars come back for the positive impact we are having was so exciting. Having Truterra and our ag retailer Central Valley Ag’s support in managing all of the data collection and soil testing was critical so we could stay focused on farming.”

Truterra has made the farmer experience a top priority, based on the understanding that durable, high-quality carbon credits and widespread adoption of climate-smart practices across agricultural acres depends, in part, on a streamlined and seamless farmer experience. There are no administrative costs, such as soil testing and verification costs, to farmers to participate in Truterra’s carbon program.