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Finance & Investment
1st Indigo Ag Credit Issuance Connects Farmers to Multibillion-Dollar Voluntary Carbon Market

Industry-leading carbon-farming program provides new revenue stream for farmers and an immediately accessible, scalable nature-based solution to climate change for businesses.

Indigo Agriculture has announced the completed production of the first crop of verified, registry-issued ag carbon credits generated at scale. This historic milestone for Indigo’s industry-leading Carbon by Indigo carbon-farming program establishes agricultural carbon credits as a new global revenue stream for farmers and a credible, scalable, nature-based climate solution for businesses. The issuance of roughly 20,000 credits by the Climate Action Reserve will be the first in a repeatable process for producing the highest-quality offsets among agricultural carbon-farming programs — and a link for farmers to a growing voluntary carbon market that experts predict will reach $50 billion by 2030.

While emerging carbon-removal technologies face challenges to immediately and at scale remove greenhouse gases to the extent necessary to limit global warming below 1.5° Celsius, nature-based solutions are uniquely positioned to help close this gap. Agriculture has historically produced less than 1 percent of voluntary carbon credits. The issuance of these credits demonstrates how farmers, as dedicated land stewards, can help realize an immediate, scalable and proven path towards climate change mitigation in one of the world’s largest and most critical carbon sinks: soil. Reflecting this increased recognition and continued growing demand, Indigo also announced it has secured buyer purchase commitments at a price of $40/credit, a 100 percent increase since the program’s launch.

“It is hard to overstate the importance of this milestone. For the first time ever, we have been able to measure and verify, at an unprecedented commercial scale, the carbon removal and abatement efforts of farmers,” said Indigo CEO Ron Hovsepian. “This issuance validates the role of agriculture in meeting the world’s urgent need for the kind of sustainability and climate solutions that Indigo’s network of farmers, soil scientists, buyers and partners have worked tirelessly to realize.”

“This milestone is the result of a collaborative effort to create an innovative, robust solution for accurate, cost-effective credit generation in agriculture, creating a mechanism to catalyze and reward adoption of sustainable farming practices,” said Craig Ebert, President of the Climate Action Reserve. “These credits are tangible evidence that, by voluntarily improving soil health and measuring their efforts to the highest degree of confidence, farmers gain a new credible source of income and benefit from the massive global investment in carbon credits needed to solve the climate crisis.”

Founded in 2013 with a mission to harness nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet, Indigo Ag connects stakeholders across the agricultural ecosystem to unlock benefits for all. In 2019, it launched The Terraton Initiative™ — an ambitious effort to remove one trillion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere using the potential of regeneratively farmed agricultural soils — and its Carbon by Indigo program to activate the potential for cropland to be a major part of the climate solution while bringing new revenue opportunities to farmers.

To help farmers produce carbon credits according to the highest industry benchmarks of quantification, Indigo implemented an innovative, hybrid approach that combines soil sampling and modeling to generate credits at scale. Those credits were then verified and issued by the Reserve for the exclusive use of Indigo’s global network of nearly 20 brands committed to purchasing credits. This first-ever scaled production of verified, registry-issued ag carbon credits reflects the efforts of 175 farmers who adopted climate-friendly practices such as cover cropping and tillage strategies across more than one hundred thousand acres in the 2018-2020 growing seasons.

“Our goal as a farming family is to move a profitable operation on to the next generation. The farm doesn’t look the same as it did when my grandpa started it, and I see carbon credits as a new, valuable option for us long term,” said Lance Unger, an Indiana farmer who earned over $26,000 in additional carbon credit revenue through the program. “Our ground can produce carbon credits every year. And the more companies that focus on becoming carbon neutral, the more valuable those carbon credits are — it’s basic supply and demand. When you add to that the agronomic and environmental benefits for us, including soil and plant health, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

With almost 2,000 participating farmers and nearly 5 million acres enrolled in the program today, Indigo and its network of ag industry partners are committed to putting farmers first by giving them the tools to participate and maximize their share of the market. Indigo’s second credit issuance, anticipated early next year, will be calculated based on farmers’ carbon-farming efforts through 2021 and is expected to result in a credit crop at least double the size of this first issuance.