The Bayer Carbon Program: A Farmer’s Firsthand Account
June 20, 2023 | By ForGround by Bayer
The Bayer Carbon Program offered through ForGround by Bayer is a carbon farming initiative that pays growers for adopting regenerative agriculture practices – specifically strip-till, no-till and cover crops – that can capture and store carbon.
Carbon farming has emerged as a new revenue stream for growers who reduce carbon and other greenhouse gases which are then converted into carbon credits that are then sold on carbon market exchanges to governments or companies who need help meeting their greenhouse gas emissions goals.
But the Bayer Carbon Program is more than just extra revenue. Implementing regenerative ag practices can revitalize the land and help preserve it for the future by promoting healthier soil.
Becoming a Strip-Till and Cover Crop Farm
Harmon Wilts is a full-time farmer and former agronomist who grows corn, beans and sugar beets at H&G Farms outside of Kerkhoven, Minnesota. Now that his three daughters and son-in-law have joined the operation, Wilts wants to do whatever he can to help sustain his family’s land for years to come.
“When we take care of our soil, it takes care of us,” Wilts said. “To me, it’s just a part of taking care of my family and leaving behind a legacy that lasts.”
Wilts said the more he learned about regenerative ag practices, the more he started to see its potential benefits.
“We have such short planning and harvest windows here in Minnesota that many people feel like things such as cover crops and strip tilling either aren’t worth it or aren’t possible,” he said. “But we started to wonder, what if we could make it work? With the right approaches and motivation, practices that can enrich the soil and help our acres get more resilient are achievable for even us in the northern states.”
Once the Wilts family decided to try out regenerative ag, they put together a plan to implement strip tilling over three to five years. It was important to Wilts to take enough time to make sure they were doing it right.
They started small the first year, with only strip-till fields following soybeans and going into corn. Using the Climate FieldView™ platform, comparisons were made between conventional versus strip tillage to measure yields. The next year, they expanded to soybeans going into corn. And the year after that, they were able to introduce sugar beets and corn-on-corn.
“When it came to reduced tillage on our acres, we approached it like any other change on our farm: with a test-and-learn mindset,” said Wilts.
That was three years ago. Wilts and his family are still putting their strip tillage plan into action, learning from their experiences and getting better every season. They’re also adding cover crops for the first time this year using a similar test-and-learn approach.
“This regenerative journey has been just that – a journey – and I’d suggest that farmers interested in adopting some of these practices consider it a journey over seasons,” he said.
Help from the Bayer Carbon Program
Wilts recently enrolled in the Bayer Carbon Program. Through the program, he’ll be paid a fixed amount per acre for the fields he’s devoted to strip tillage and cover crops. The uncertainty of how much carbon he captures doesn’t matter because the program takes on that risk and simply rewards farmers for each validated and verified practice they adopt.
Wilts also gets access to year-round support from ForGround agronomists, valuable discounts and learning resources that make it easier to implement new regenerative ag practices on his farm.
Data collection is made simpler and more secure with free access to the Climate FieldViewTM PLUS. (1) digital farming platform. Wilts completes all practice verification through the FieldView app with an option for hands-on help from Bayer support teams.
Wilts will be paid once all documentation is signed and practices are verified. And there’s one more Bayer Carbon Program perk Wilts can look forward to: Bayer reviews the program incentives periodically, and if the price of carbon assets goes up, so can payments to farmers. (2)
How to Enroll in the Bayer Carbon Program
The Bayer Carbon Program is available through the ForGround by Bayer platform. ForGround is free to join and gives you access to expert support from a team of agronomists and resources developed using the latest industry research.
After joining ForGround, you can enroll eligible fields in the Bayer Carbon Program through FieldView. You’ll see how many eligible acres you have along with the payment you could potentially receive when you log into your account. (3)
To join ForGround, visit BayerForGround.com. To check your eligibility for the Bayer Carbon Program and see the practice opportunities currently available in your county, visit BayerForGround.com/Carbon.
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).
3 Payments subject to: (a) verification by Bayer that the selected practices have been performed and, for historical payments, that carbon assets have been generated; and (b) all other applicable terms of the Bayer Carbon-Smart Master Services Agreement.
Legal Statements: 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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