Indigo Ag to roll out first tranche of farm soil carbon credits

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CHICAGO, June 29 (Reuters) - U.S. farm technology firm Indigo Agriculture on Wednesday said its carbon farming program has produced 20,000 tonnes in soil carbon credits that it will sell as emissions offsets to buyers including JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), Barclays (BARC.L) and The North Face.

They are the first agricultural soil carbon credits to be verified and issued by the Climate Action Reserve, a non-profit registry and carbon credit standard setter in California, the largest state-level climate market.

The offsets were created by 175 growers in Indigo's carbon program that shifted to more sustainable farming practices such as reduced soil tillage and planting off-season cover crops between 2018 and 2020, the company said.

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Indigo's program is among a string of environmentally focused projects by agriculture companies tapping market-based approaches to conservation and carbon capture on the farm.

Indigo aims to at least double the amount of credits offered in its next tranche.

"In the next several years, this could be scaled to a point that it really does start to have an impact on our atmosphere," said Chris Harbourt, Indigo's chief strategy officer and head of carbon.

Some carbon programs have struggled to scale as farmers are reluctant to make potentially disruptive changes to their operations or take on added costs for things like cover crop seed. Credit buyers, meanwhile, have been unsure of the environmental value of the new offerings. read more

Indigo said that partnering with the Climate Action Reserve would reassure buyers.

Indigo contracted to sell the credits at $40 per tonne, up from $20 per tonne when it first secured buyers in 2020. Farmers, who have been on average sequestering about 0.3 to 0.6 tonnes of carbon per acre, will receive 75% of that, Harbourt said.

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Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Sam Holmes

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Thomson Reuters

Chicago-based senior commodities correspondent covering agricultural markets, large agribusinesses and the food supply chain and specializing in global trade, farming technology and climate change issues impacting the industry.