CIBO and Continuum Ag partner on regenerative ag project

Carbon Bridge will support farmers’ switch to regenerative ag through agronomic advice and a financial incentive program.

CIBO Technologies has partnered with soil data company Continuum Ag to launch an incentivization program designed to help farmers switch to regenerative agricultural practices.

CIBO Carbon Bridge will provide agronomic support to farmers as well as offering “a significant pay-for-practice financial incentive” to shorten the time to return on investment for farmers.

Switching from conventional to regenerative farming practices has been shown to replenish and enhance soil quality while storing higher rates of carbon, which can be sold as ‘carbon credits’ on marketplaces such as CIBO’s Impact platform.

“Growers get paid on a per acre basis for new practice adoption for the first four years of implementation, after which, growers are paid based on the market value of the carbon offsets generated from their practice,” CIBO director of the carbon product Steve Lemeshow told Agri Investor in an email.

Flagship Pioneering-backed CIBO Technologies is funding the incentivization program for the first 25,000 acres enrolled, Lemeshow confirmed.

Continuum Ag’s role in the partnership will be to use its regenerative farming and “soil health expertise to ensure the growers understand the soil health principles and have a clear understanding of the management changes needed,” explained Continuum Ag’s founder and CEO Mitchell Hora.

“Only about 4 percent of US farmers are using cover crops and few are knowledgeable enough to accurately help others succeed. We’ve successfully adopted cover crops on our own farm since 2013 and work with farmers across 36 states and 14 countries to ensure their success.”

Peoples Company enrolled 20,000 farmland acres into the CIBO Impact platform at the start of 2021. The pair had planned for producers enrolled in the program to be eligible for immediate partial pre-incentive payments against expected future sales of carbon credits.

“We’re the boots on the ground, bringing acres into the program and being part of the monitoring and making sure the practices are actually happening,” Peoples Company president Steve Bruere told Agri Investor in January. “[CIBO] are calculating what the carbon credit is worth and they are marketing it.”

Investors in farmland markets now expect strategies to include a carbon component, Bruere added. He said that though many institutional farmland managers have taken a cautious approach while watching the USDA for signs of change under a new administration, carbon income potential will likely be factored into farmland values within about two years.

“My sense is everybody wants to make the right move at the right time and monetize appropriately,” he said. “You don’t want to be the person who monetizes it on your portfolio at $20 an acre and find out you could have had $40 later.”