Beginning this month, Bayer will start rewarding farmers in the United States and Brazil for generating carbon credits by adopting climate-smart practices, such as no-till farming and the use of cover crops.
The goal of the company’s Carbon Initiative is to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint and field greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. The effort is the result of years of work validating a science-based approach and methodology, according to a company news release.
“If anyone has a vested interest in battling climate change, it’s farmers ,and we are committed to developing new business models like this unique Carbon Initiative to help them in that fight,” Bayer Crop Science Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann said in the release.
Soil is one of the most effective ways of sequestering carbon. Offering farmers incentives to embrace no-till, precision nitrogen use or cover crops helps further sequester carbon in the soil, reduce fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gases.
The program’s 2020-21 season will include about 1,200 farmers in Brazil and the United States. In both countries, farmers will receive assistance in implementing climate-smart agricultural practices, and Bayer will acquire the carbon removals created by those practices at transparent prices. The company is also collaborating with partners such as Embrapa in Brazil to build a viable carbon market for farmers.
Bayer plans to expand the program in the United States and Brazil to other farmers and then later into other world regions with tailored approaches that will allow growers to choose what climate-smart practices and implementation works best for them.
In Europe, the company is exploring how this approach could be adapted as part of the European Green Deal. In Asia-Pacific, the goal is to help increase productivity for smallholder farmers as well as reduce methane emissions from rice farming.