Carbon Farming Is Complex. We’re Here To Make It Easier.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Changing practices to sequester carbon and reduce emissions can create a significant new revenue stream and boost field and forage productivity for years to come
Receive near-term financial incentives while improving soil health for greater long-term productivity and profit potential.
When reviewing the list of practice changes that can be implemented to enroll in Agoro Carbon’s program, many growers are surprised to find out they qualify, even after being told they do not qualify for other carbon programs. Confusion around which practices qualify stems from the requirement of additionality, which states that any practice change to enroll in a carbon program must provide additional carbon storage potential relative to what is currently being done on the operation. This means a grower who is currently no-tilling is not able to enroll by continuing no-tillage alone. However, if this grower wants to add a cover crop, this will qualify because the cover crops provide additional carbon storage potential. It is important to note that changes do not have be large ones: a grower who conventionally tills every crop in the rotation does not have to implement 100% no-tillage for each crop moving forward to qualify; rather, they might elect to only no-till one crop in the rotation, or perhaps utilize a strip-tillage bar for that crop. There is room for creativity when thinking about how to qualify, because Agoro Carbon understands a one-size-fits-all approach is not possible in US agriculture.
Both ranchers and row-crop growers are eligible for Agoro Carbon’s program. Below is a breakdown of different management practices in row crop and in rangeland/pastureland operations.
Tillage management can be either a switch from conventional tillage to no-tillage or reduced tillage, or a switch from reduced tillage to no-tillage. It is helpful to first determine what a typical rotation is on your operation. An easy example is a corn-soybean rotation. If a grower no-tills beans and follows them with conventionally tilled corn, the grower could either no-till or implement a reduced-tillage practice for the corn. A reduced-tillage practice might be strip tillage or a simple reduction in the number of passes taken with a tillage implement (e.g., chisel, disc, field cultivator, VT tool) in the corn year. The grower would expect higher carbon payments if all crops in the rotation are in no-tillage but the ability to make a smaller change in the corn year rather than going completely no-tillage might be the easier and more attractive option. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), fields qualified as no-tillage must have a Soil Tillage Intensity Rating (STIR) of less than 10 for the year the crop is being grown. Additionally, to be qualified for minimum tillage the percent residue coverage should be >30%.
As with tillage management, growers who wish to utilize cover crops to qualify for Agoro’s carbon program have options. To be considered a cover crop, the crop must be grown between normal crop rotations and cannot be harvested for grain or as a haylage/silage. It can, however, be grazed as a forage by livestock. The grower can elect to establish the cover crop in any way they desire at any point in the season. The cover crop does not necessarily have to be seeded in the fall or early spring, but can be planted early to mid-summer if it follows winter wheat or other grain crops harvested at that time. The grower can plant any species or mix of species to qualify.
Growers who already implement cover crops in their rotation might still qualify. If a grower only plants covers following certain cash crops in the rotation, they could qualify by implementing cover crops for each crop cycle in the rotation. In a corn-soy rotation a grower might only plant covers after corn, but if that grower decides to start seeding covers after beans they would now qualify. Another way to qualify is by converting from non-legume covers to legume or non-legume/legume mixes. Since legume cover crops are far better at building soil organic carbon than are non-legumes, a switch to a more legume-heavy mix is a way for some legacy cover croppers to enroll (if they are not currently utilizing legume cover crops). For example, a grower who historically plants cereal rye can add hairy vetch, or any legume, to the cereal rye to qualify. There are no requirements for seeding rates or percentage of legumes in the mix.
Practices which result in less nitrogen (N) loss via denitrification and/or leaching will qualify for enrollment into Agoro Carbon’s program. Growers can either reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizer applied or utilize one of the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship: right place, right time, right source, and right rate. For an N rate reduction, the grower will be paid $0.05/lbs. of N reduced/acre/year. For utilizing one of the 4Rs, the grower will be paid $2.50/acre/year. What does implementing one of the 4Rs look like in practice? It can be a variety of things, such as converting from a single application to a split application, or simply using a nitrification or urease inhibitor. For a more complete list of accepted N management practices, contact us for a copy of the document “Agoro Carbon’s Practice Guidelines.”
Unlike tillage management and cover cropping, where growers are paid according to how much carbon they physically store in the soil, the payout for nitrogen (N) management practices are practice-based. This means a grower will be paid a fixed dollar amount per acre which corresponds to each N-management practice they choose to implement. This is because when a grower makes a shift towards increased N efficiency, this shift does not directly result in more carbon stored in the soil; rather, the grower is making a change which results in a reduction in nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions coming from the field. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas like CO2 but has a heating capacity which is around 300 times that of CO2. Soil sampling allows Agoro to physically quantify how much CO2 was removed from the atmosphere with practices like tillage management and cover cropping, but with N-management practices, Agoro relies on modeling alone, since it is not possible to take soil samples to determine how much N2O emissions were reduced for a field in a given year.
Agoro Carbon provides a complimentary custom evaluation of your farm or ranch by an agronomist who can either come to you or support you remotely. We offer open, transparent information, along with multiple options to choose from to begin carbon farming. You decide what is best for your operation and we’ll support you every step of the way.
General requirements are as follows: • Your farm is located in the U.S., and you have rights to grow crops and implement the practices on the covered acres. • You have a minimum of 500 acres. • You have been in crop production for at least 3 years. • You have not already implemented the practice that you’re looking to adopt. We will provide a free consultation to determine which practices you are eligible to implement.
Your role: You collaborate with us to select and agree on the practices to be changed, and you share the required data in order to enroll. You then implement the agreed practice. Agoro Carbon will support you along the way. Our role: Agoro Carbon will process your data through an auditing and certification process. Agoro Carbon takes responsibility for converting your practice changes into carbon credits, as well as finding buyers for the credits you generate.
Bulk-density tests are conducted to help determine soil’s density and weight, first to get a baseline for the total soil organic carbon (SOC) and later to learn how it’s behaving in response to practice changes.
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