How to choose a carbon program for farmers (free questionnaire)

Jazz Rosende

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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carbon farming program
carbon farming program
carbon farming program

Many farmers are becoming interested in carbon farming but struggle with what to do first. The process ordinarily begins by connecting with a carbon program that provides needed support to farmers. Fortunately, carbon programs are becoming more accessible. But what should you know and consider when selecting the best suitable carbon farming program?

Each carbon program is designed differently. It is important to find an organization to partner with that is reputable, provides expert guidance, and is creating meaningful and lasting impacts while putting farmers’ needs first.

To help navigate through your options, here are vital best practices that a first-rate carbon program possesses. The right carbon program for farmers builds confidence and achieves positive outcomes when engaging in carbon farming.

Carbon removal vs. emission reductions

Humanity needs to limit emissions as low as possible, for all activities and industries including agriculture. Because of the nature of soil cultivation, farming is uniquely positioned to work the land so that it recycles nutrients like carbon for soil storage and crops.

In the European Union, carbon farming is considered a carbon removal strategy where a framework is being developed to ensure efficiency. This is an important distinction because some carbon programs only offer emission reductions strategies for farms and not the removal of carbon already in the atmosphere through soil sequestration. (This begs the question, is it appropriate to call it a carbon program if there is no carbon removal?)

So how can you tell if the carbon program provides carbon removal or emission reductions? Look for how and what measurements are made.

Benchmark 1. What is measured?

  • Are soil carbon measurements being accounted for or just the amount of emissions being avoided?

Measures up to standards and requirements

Measures up to standards and requirements

Carbon farming is one solution (carbon removal) to a real problem (climate change) while equipping farmers with practices that promote sustainable land stewardship and introducing a new way to earn income (carbon credits). There is a lot at stake when seen on a wide scale which is why carbon farming requires rigorous measurements, reporting, and verification processes (MRV).

Benchmark 2. The quality of measurements.

  • Are baseline soil measurements taken to compare results over time? Are baselines even measured?

  • How are results going to be monitored? Are tools provided to monitor changes?

  • How are results verified?

Creates real impact

Carbon farming has the potential to make a significant contribution to counteracting global warming while providing financial incentives to farmers. It only really makes sense when both are achieved.

Generating high-quality carbon farming credits ensures that certain qualities are met. Therefore, a carbon program for farmers must safeguard additionality, permanence, and non-leakage of soil carbon with appropriate measures.

Benchmark 3: Is the carbon program genuinely meeting climate and farmer goals?

  • What is the project duration?

  • Is carbon storage lasting? Are there measures to minimize risks of permanence reversal?

  • Will there be changes in farm practices for additional soil carbon storage?

  • How are carbon farming practices recommended, unique recommendations based on farm requirements or generalized for all farms?

Benchmark 4: Are the costs and incentives reasonable?

  • How much and what are fees for?

  • Will the program take commissions from selling or generating credits?

  • What is the price of credits?

  • Who has ownership of the credits, the program or the farmer?

  • Is there an option for pre-financing?

Going the extra mile to deliver results

carbon program farming eagronom

Shifting to carbon farming requires high levels of commitment from farmers and a credible carbon program must match it with wide-ranging services and tools. Different carbon programs provide varying degrees of assistance which can influence the success of the endeavor.

Benchmark 5: Provides comprehensive support with tools and services

  • Will experienced specialists provide guidance and assessment on carbon farming?

  • Will there be access to tools for tracking the farm’s carbon footprint and reporting?

Ready to choose a credible carbon program partner?

In carbon farming, a carbon program is a reliable means to balance farmer and climate goals. It should distinguish between carbon removals and emissions, make unambiguous measurements with accessible reporting and credible verification processes, ensure lasting impacts, drive income value for farmers, and provide holistic strategy and support tools.

When researching or connecting with a carbon program for farmers, seek a partner that works to meet the farm needs with expert-led support for sustainable agriculture.

Which carbon program truly meets your needs? Refer to the checklist below and list down your answers to the 15 questions below when comparing between carbon programs.

Assessment checklist for carbon programs

Benchmark 1. What is measured?

  • Are soil carbon measurements being accounted for or just the amount of emissions being avoided?

Benchmark 2. The quality of measurements.

  • Are baseline soil measurements taken to compare results over time? Are baselines even measured?

  • How are results going to be monitored? Are tools provided to monitor changes?

  • How are results verified?

Benchmark 3: Is the carbon program genuinely meeting climate and farmer goals?

  • What is the project duration?

  • Is carbon storage lasting? Are there measures to minimize risks of permanence reversal?

  • Will there be changes in farm practices for additional soil carbon storage?

  • How are carbon farming practices recommended, unique recommendations based on farm requirements or generalized for all farms?

Benchmark 4: Are the costs and incentives reasonable?

  • How much and what are fees for?

  • Will the program take commissions from selling or generating credits?

  • What is the price of credits?

  • Who has ownership of the credits, the program or the farmer?

  • Is there an option for pre-financing?

Benchmark 5: Provides comprehensive support with tools and services

  • Will experienced specialists provide guidance and assessment on carbon farming?

  • Will there be access to tools for tracking the farm’s carbon footprint and reporting?


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Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

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