5 Things to Look for in a Carbon Program for Farmers
June 19, 2023 | By ForGround by Bayer
Carbon programs are gaining momentum among farmers across the US for some very good reasons. By enrolling, farmers can potentially earn extra income while strengthening their soil at the same time.
Carbon programs pay farmers who adopt practices that capture greenhouse gases, which are then used to generate carbon credits. Carbon credits are transferred or sold on carbon market exchanges to organizations or governments that need to offset their emissions to meet their sustainability goals. The farmer who did the hard work gets rewarded and can help protect the environment at the same time.
Participating in a carbon program can be an incredible opportunity for farmers who make the effort to adopt regenerative ag practices, such as strip till, no-till and cover crops. But how do you choose the right opportunity that will not only help you make a profit but also support you as you switch to practices that are right for your acres?
The right program delivers real-life expertise, industry-leading tools and transparency – you don’t want any surprises you didn’t sign up for. Programs like the Bayer Carbon Program offer certain incentive opportunities per acre, processes that are simple to understand and expert support every step of the way.
If you’re considering a carbon program, here are five important questions to ask before enrolling.
1. Do You Know How Much the Carbon Program Pays?
Carbon programs for farmers handle the payment process differently. Some programs pay per ton of carbon sequestered, which could leave many farmers unsure of what they’ll make at year’s end.
Consider a program that instead bases a farmer's revenue potential on the number of acres enrolled instead. For example, the Bayer Carbon Program pays annually per acre regardless of how much carbon you capture, reducing the risk to the farmer. The amount you’re set to receive is communicated upfront at the time of enrollment, so you’ll always know how many dollars per acre you’ll earn.
2. Is the Carbon Program Simple to Follow?
Farmers need to focus on their fields, not complicated contracts and hidden escalation clauses that some carbon programs spring on their enrollees.
The Bayer Carbon Program is designed for simplicity and flexibility. You get paid for the eligible practices (i.e., no-till, strip-till or cover crops) you choose to adopt – no complicated terms, conditions or paperwork.
The Bayer Carbon Program is part of the ForGround by Bayer platform, which provides agronomic support to help execute your plan with as little disruption to your daily operations as possible. Bayer also takes care of soil sampling and carbon reading at no cost to you. Free access to the industry-leading digital ag platform Climate FieldViewTM PLUS makes data reporting and collection seamless.(1)
3. What Support Does the Carbon Program Give?
Some carbon programs aren’t equipped to handle the level of support farmers need to successfully adopt regenerative practices that can capture and sequester carbon. Agronomic advice and assistance are limited, seasonal and/or can’t be tailored for each individual field.
Year-round agronomic support is a key benefit of the Bayer Carbon Program. The tools and resources available to enrolled farmers guide them through the transition process and help them to establish the new practice. A team of Sustainable Systems Agronomists based across the Midwest are available to give personalized advice. Farmers also get exclusive access to learning centers, research farm events and a free Climate FieldView PLUS account.
4. Does the Carbon Program Share the Upside?
This price of carbon credits is determined by the carbon market, comprised of individuals, companies and nations who trade carbon credits. In 2023, the carbon credit price per metric ton ranged from $40 to $80. Compare that to just two years earlier in 2021 when the price was $12.70 per metric ton.
The price increase was a result of higher worldwide demand for carbon credits. Carbon accountability is on the rise, driven largely by the United Nations’ 2020 Paris Agreement that set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and by consumers wanting more sustainable products. Based on this trend, carbon assets continue to see demand climb year over year.
Bayer believes in sharing success. That’s why Bayer is committed to ensuring farmers get recognized for carbon market upsides. If the price of carbon assets increases, so can the program incentives. (2)
In other words, farmers enrolled in the Bayer Carbon Program can earn more if carbon asset prices go up over time.
5. What Other Benefits Does the Carbon Program Offer?
It takes effort to adopt a new regenerative practice. It can be expensive, time consuming and complex to put into action. The benefits, however, are worth it. Aside from the potential to generate new income, regenerative practices can promote long-term soil health. Healthier soil could mean enhanced productivity and profitability for your farming operation.
Farmers working with certain carbon programs can get assistance and save costs implementing regenerative practices. Enrolling gives farmers access to exclusive discounts and rebates to help keep transition expenses down.
Working with a carbon program that’s transparent, simple to understand, provides expert support and shares the upside is the best way for farmers to get paid for the carbon credits their practices can produce. The benefits of the Bayer Carbon Program were all developed to put farmers first.
If you’re ready to take the next step toward earning income for regenerative practices, check your eligibility for the Bayer Carbon Program now.
Footnotes: 1 ForGround members who agree to associate their FieldView Plus account with ForGround will receive a FieldView Plus subscription at no charge for one year. Current participants in the Bayer Carbon Program can participate in this offer by becoming ForGround members and complying with offer requirements. The FieldView Plus opportunity set forth in this paragraph is subject to Bayer continuing to offer promotion. Promotion may be discontinued by Bayer at any time in Bayer’s sole discretion. Promotion participants must not be in breach of any agreements between Bayer and its affiliates, including Climate LLC, in order to qualify.
2 Bayer will increase the payment rate for applicable practices on eligible fields if there has been a substantial increase in the market price of carbon assets (as periodically evaluated and determined by Bayer).
This Bayer Carbon Program described in this material is subject to the current version of the Bayer Carbon-Smart Practices Master Agreement. The information is to aid in the understanding of the Bayer Carbon Program and does not change or modify the Bayer Carbon-Smart Practices Master Agreement in any way.
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