About CIBO Carbon Bridge
Carbon markets as they exist today are not built for farmers, despite what most may say. Growers are asked to take on a high level of risk. The current price per tonne of sequestered carbon, although expected to grow significantly, is not sufficient to cover startup costs for growers implementing new practices.
Many of these carbon markets also require growers to make long-term commitments that do not align with the realities of their farming businesses. As a result, growers are reluctant to participate. Enrollments remain low, with many of the existing participants frustrated and underpaid.
CIBO Carbon Bridge creates an incentive that solves these problems. CIBO is basing per-acre payments on what growers say they need to help cover the costs of adopting new practices. The program reduces risk for farmers now, incentivizing them to adopt regenerative farming practices and still have the ability to share in the upside and sell their own carbon credits a few years down the road when soil carbon markets are more established.
Per-acre payments depend upon which practice(s) are adopted as well as land attributes such as location and soil type, which determine the soil’s potential to sequester carbon through regenerative practices.
CIBO Carbon Bridge is designed to help farmers manage risk. The highest payments occur in the first year of participation because this is when farmers face the most hurdles, like taking on more labor, learning about new practices, and investing in seeds or new equipment. As farmers begin to see the agronomic benefits of practice changes, and therefore the potential to reduce input costs or improve yields, payment amounts decrease. At the same time, as carbon markets mature in the next few years, farmers will have the ability to capitalize on selling their generated credits with reduced risk, decreasing the need for higher fixed payments.
Participants who successfully implement regenerative practices during the first three years of participation (in exchange for fixed per-acre payments) will generate their own credits for sale at market rate beginning in Year 4, and continuing through Year 10.
CIBO Carbon Bridge is a 10-year program. Growers are required to make a guaranteed commitment of at least three years. Growers have the opportunity to opt out beginning in Year 4 and continuing through Year 10.
No. Growers are required to receive basic agronomic support to qualify for CIBO Carbon Bridge, and CIBO will cover the cost. Growers do not need to pay for any required soil sampling for this program. However, additional sampling related to soil health consulting is available for an additional cost.
If a participant plants a cover crop that does not emerge, and therefore cannot be verified by CIBO’s remote sensing technology, then the participant would not be eligible for a cover crop payment that year. The participant would remain eligible for the CIBO Carbon Bridge program for other practices in that year and for cover crop the following year.
Participants are allowed to stack incentives with other programs, as long as those programs’ incentives are not based on carbon sequestration, such that a farmer would be getting paid multiple times for the same environmental outcomes.
Since wetland and forest conversion would in themselves release carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere for a period, or potentially damage water quality in the area, these activities in effect negate the environmental benefits of regenerative agriculture. Third-party verifiers who certify nature-based carbon credits will not certify those that are generated on recently converted farmland.
In order to meet current requirements of third-party carbon registries, CIBO Carbon Bridge is for growers who are adopting net new practices. CIBO is in the process of developing other incentive programs that would reward growers who began practicing regenerative agriculture prior to the 2020 growing season. CIBO considers these growers leaders in the industry who deserve recognition.