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While it may not be an immediate windfall, no-tillers who’ve been doing the right thing to protect and enrich their soils may finally have a chance to cash in on that beyond the money they’ve already saved in fuel, machinery and labor.
Companies like Indigo Ag and Nori are offering to pay farmers for the soil organic carbon (SOC) they sequester in their fields. It’s unclear if the market will pay them for past sequestration, but those able to demonstrate their fields are producing new SOC sequestration year to year could earn extra income.
Early efforts about a decade ago to construct carbon markets through the Chicago Climate Exchange fell apart after lawmakers failed to pass national cap-and-trade legislation. Some local and regional efforts did survive.
A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report found that carbon sequestration is the lowest-cost way to remove and store excess atmospheric CO2. By adopting specific soil management and crop production practices, farmers can draw CO2 from the atmosphere and deposit it in cropland soils.
Nori and Indigo Ag are working with buyers, especially large companies, who have goals to be carbon neutral or carbon negative in the future and are in the…