Simplifying carbon market opportunities

December 28, 2021
Steve Carlsen, CHS director of proprietary agronomy products, shares how CHS collaboration with Bayer is making it easier for farmers to enter the carbon market.

With so many carbon programs available, it can be difficult to know where to begin or what’s right for a farm operation. CHS has collaborated with Bayer to offer a simple, flexible way for farmers to be rewarded for sustainable soil practices including planting cover crops, using no-till or strip-till methods and using products that enhance nutrient availability.

CHS is bringing the Bayer Carbon Program to farmers in more than 21 states. The program is an easy way for farmers to enter the carbon market, says Steve Carlsen, CHS director of proprietary agronomy products.

“Many growers don’t want to do a math equation to figure out how they’re going to benefit from participating in a carbon program,” says Carlsen. “In this program, rewards are tied to implementing specific climate-smart practices. This removes a lot of the uncertainty that may come with some other carbon programs.”

Rewards can stack up

At the heart of the carbon program are two incentives tied to soil conservation practices: cover crops and no-till/strip-till. Growers who use both practices can receive up to $9 per acre per year. Farmers who use cover crops, no-till/strip-till and specific nitrogen stabilizers and phosphorus efficiency aids can increase the overall incentive to up to $12 per acre per year.

“This program allows growers to stack several practices to generate higher earnings,” says Carlsen. “I emphasize with growers that when we think about a carbon program, a lot of these incentives can be used to help offset some of the costs for practices and products we should probably already be using for their agronomic benefit.”

Past practices are eligible

One of the primary benefits of the carbon program is its ease of use.

“Many growers are already using reduced tillage or cover crops because they’ve seen conservation or agronomic benefits,” Carlsen says. “It’s great to be able to reward farmers for what they’re already doing.”

What works for you

Carlsen recommends farmers familiarize themselves with the carbon market to see which program makes the most sense for them.

“Determine if a program fits your farm for what you’re doing today or what you plan to do in the future,” he says. “Then look at the tracking process that’s involved and the other metrics different programs offer. We’ve collaborated with Bayer to make this a simple process because we believe there’s tremendous opportunity for farmers.”

“We want to reward farmers for being great stewards of the land. Helping them access new sources of revenue for their acres is an even greater benefit,” he continues. “We’re still at the starting line of where the carbon market will go, so this is an easy and simple way for farmers to start that journey.”