The market is buzzing with carbon reduction platforms designed to pay farmers for following established carbon reduction protocols. Indigo Ag, ESMC, FBN, Bayer/Climate Corporation, Nori, and Nutrien are just some of the players in these new carbon reduction platforms for row crop and grain farmers. Livestock producers are also seeing changes in how they produce proteins driving by the buyers of these commodities. What all of these efforts have in common—they all rely on data from the farmer to verify compliance.

That means more data collection from farmers.  Here’s my checklist for farmers and other users of these platforms when reviewing the contract terms offered by these new carbon reduction platforms:

1. Does the platform minimize the loss of other future opportunities for the farmer that may arise from climate change?  

2. Does the platform collect only as much data as necessary to verify compliance with the carbon reduction protocols?  

3. Is ag data collected by the platform used only for the intended purpose stated by the aggregator?

4. Does the carbon credit buyer also commit to keep individual farmer data confidential?  

5. Is the carbon reduction platform “pre-competitive”?  Does it allow any similarly situated producer to participate?  

6. Does money from the business buying the carbon credits flow down to the farmer implementing the required production practices?

For any carbon reduction platform to work, it likely requires a long-term commitment. That’s why many of these platforms require 10+ year obligations.  This is all the more reason for farmers to consider the future implications for their farm when signing up for one of the new carbon reduction platforms.

More discussion of these checklist items will be coming in future posts.