Factbox: Big Ag woos farmers for carbon programs

3 minute read

A combine harvester is seen as it harvests soybeans while loading a grain transfer hoper in Deerfield, Ohio, U.S., October 7, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. Picture taken October 7, 2021. REUTERS/Dane Rhys

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Oct 25 (Reuters) - The world's farmers have found a potential new revenue stream under their feet, as the biggest agriculture companies launch programs to sequester carbon and generate valuable credits, a financial instrument to offset pollution. read more

The programs require farmers to take steps, such as planting winter crops and reducing tillage, to keep carbon in the ground and prevent atmosphere-damaging emissions.

Here are some programs from the biggest global farm companies wooing farmers in the United States, Canada and elsewhere:

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Nutrien Ltd (NTR.TO): The Canadian fertilizer producer says it has commitments from North American farmers to enroll 200,000 acres in its program. The program pays farmers in the first year up to $15 per acre, depending on the options for payment timing and performance achieved for sequestering carbon or reducing emissions. Agreements last up to two years.

Cargill Inc (CARG.UL): The privately held agribusiness has more than 360,000 acres enrolled in around a dozen sustainable and regenerative agriculture programs in North America, with a goal of 10 million acres by 2030. Its newly launched RegenConnect program, which Cargill hopes to scale up over coming years, is paying farmers $20 per tonne of carbon sequestered in soils. read more

Yara International ASA (YAR.OL): The Norwegian fertilizer producer is starting more slowly in the United States, with 50,000 acres in its pilot project, but intends to secure 1 million U.S. acres by year-end. It is paying farmers $5 per acre to enroll, and plans to expand to Brazil and India. Yara is hiring 30 agronomists and data specialists to roll out the program, addressing a disadvantage to rival companies with more U.S. staff.

Corteva Inc (CTVA.N): The seeds and farm chemicals company partnered with farm technology and services provider Indigo Ag this year, expanding its three-state corn and soybean pilot program to 11 states and 17 different crops. The Corteva Carbon Initiative requires a five-year commitment and is paying growers a minimum of $15 per tonne of carbon. read more The company says its program will not have a material impact on near-term profit.

Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE): The seeds and chemicals giant has around 1.5 million acres enrolled in 10 countries around the world, with the "vast majority" of those in the United States. Its U.S. program pays corn and soybean farmer participants in 17 states $3 an acre for reducing tillage of soils and another $6 per acre for planting cover crops. Fields are contracted for 10 years, followed by a 10-year retention period to ensure carbon remains in the soil. Bayer is also offering one-time bonuses of up to $1,000 for farmers who sign up by the end of October.


CIBO Impact



Soil and Water Outcomes Fund

Ecosystem Services Market Consortium

Sources: Company interviews, 2021 Iowa State University report

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Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Karl Plume in Chicago Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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