Soil Health Institute collaborates on farmer-owned carbon program

soil health institute logoThe Soil Health Institute is collaborating with Truterra as the scientific partner for soil metrics and sampling design for TruCarbon, the first farmer-owned carbon program in the United States.

TruCarbon will help farmers generate and sell carbon credits to private-sector buyers. It is a partnership between Arden Hills, Minnesota-based grower cooperative, Land O’Lakes, and Truterra, which the co-op launched in 2016.

For the initial launch, the institute will develop the soil sampling design and methodologies for qualifying farmers to be compensated for the carbon they have sequestered retroactively, over the last five years, by adopting soil health practices in prior growing seasons.

Microsoft is the first secured buyer that will purchase the vintage carbon credits toward its commitment to be carbon negative by 2030.

Among the assessment tools  is the Truterra Insights Engine — software that not only provides farmers with a score card of their fields’ performance on key metrics such as soil erosion or greenhouse gas emissions but also profitability.

The Insights Engine allows farmers to “test drive,” or model, a new practice they might be considering. Modeling it allows them to see what impact it might have both on their profitability, as well as their yield and soil condition, for example.

Next, Truterra works with a network of retailers using the Insights Engine with their customer base. One of the unique programs is to help these retailers obtain a conservation agronomist.

These roles are a hybrid of a conventional ag retail agronomist and a conservation specialist. Conservation agronomists at Truterra retailer locations work with farmers to identify potential sustainability improvements and also work with them to access cost-share and other funding sources.

In the South and MidSouth, GreenPoint Ag is the primary Truterra retailer.

Interested farmers can find out more or enroll at www.truterraag.com/CarbonSurvey.