This is a $15 trillion opportunity for farmers to fight climate change

Getty: Farmer hands in dirt

Indigo Agriculture, the Boston-based start-up that uses natural microbiology to revolutionize the way farmers grow crops, has unveiled a first-of-a-kind program to tackle climate change worldwide. The company launched the Terraton Initiative on Wednesday to accelerate carbon sequestration from agricultural soil on a massive scale. The goal: to capture 1 trillion metric tons (a teraton) of carbon dioxide worldwide from 3.6 billion acres of farmland through a marketplace that gives farmers incentives to implement regenerative farming practices.

Capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide from agricultural soil is a way to restore soil health while returning carbon levels to those prior to the Industrial Revolution, according to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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This is a $15 trillion opportunity for farmers to fight climate change

KEY POINTS
  • Indigo Agriculture launched the Terraton Initiative on Wednesday to accelerate carbon sequestration from agricultural soil on a massive scale.
  • To catalyze the Initiative, Indigo is creating Indigo Carbon, a market providing growers with the financial incentive to implement regenerative practices that reduce or remove carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Growers who join Indigo Carbon for the 2019 crop season are eligible to receive $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide sequestered.
  • The goal: to capture 1 trillion metric tons (a teraton) of carbon dioxide worldwide.
Getty: Farmer hands in dirt
Indigo Agriculture launched the Terraton Initiative on Wednesday to accelerate carbon sequestration from agricultural soil on a massive scale. To catalyze the Initiative, Indigo is creating Indigo Carbon, a market providing growers with the financial incentive to implement regenerative practices that reduce or remove carbon from the atmosphere. Growers who join Indigo Carbon for the 2019 crop season are eligible to receive $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide sequestered. The goal: to capture 1 trillion metric tons (a teraton) of carbon dioxide worldwide.

Indigo Agriculture, the Boston-based start-up that uses natural microbiology to revolutionize the way farmers grow crops, has unveiled a first-of-a-kind program to tackle climate change worldwide. The company launched the Terraton Initiative on Wednesday to accelerate carbon sequestration from agricultural soil on a massive scale. The goal: to capture 1 trillion metric tons (a teraton) of carbon dioxide worldwide from 3.6 billion acres of farmland through a marketplace that gives farmers incentives to implement regenerative farming practices.

Capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide from agricultural soil is a way to restore soil health while returning carbon levels to those prior to the Industrial Revolution, according to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Today many environmental experts say agricultural farming emits 25% to 35% of all CO2 into the atmosphere — more than all modes of transportation combined. The trend has contributed to extreme changes in weather that are reducing crop yields and making livestock more vulnerable to disease. All this threatens the global food supply as demand from a booming global population grows.

“The potential for agricultural soils to capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide is the most hopeful solution I know of to address climate change,” said David Perry, Indigo’s CEO. “The technology and know-how for regenerative farming already exists, so we can begin to make a difference right now.”

“And this can be done on a massive scale,” says the company’s co-founder and chief innovation officer, Geoffrey von Maltzahn.

These practices include minimal tillage of the soil, cover cropping, crop rotations, using fewer chemicals and fertilizers, and incorporating livestock grazing. These are all ways to increase soil’s carbon content and water retention so less CO2 is released into the atmosphere.

As Maltzahn explains, soils play a key role in the carbon cycle by soaking up carbon from dead plant matter. Plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and pass carbon to the ground when dead roots and leaves decompose. But it can cause carbon to be released from the soil at a faster rate than it is replaced. This net release of carbon to the atmosphere contributes to global warming. MORE

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