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Corteva Agriscience Commits $500,000 to Carbon Sequestration Program For Farmers

Corteva Officials Say It Aims to Reward Farmers for Carbon Sequestration Practices.

Farmers looking for ways to implement practices that sequester carbon and simultaneously boost soil health may be able to garner help from Corteva Agriscience.

At this week’s World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa, officials for Corteva said the firm is committing $500,000 toward a program called the Corteva Agriscience Climate Positive Challenge. The intent is to reward farmers who adopt carbon-sequestering practices and are willing to share ideas on those practices with other farmers.

The details are still being worked out as to how the money will be split and who will receive it. Corteva plans to launch the program early next year.

“We’re looking to reward and incentivize those folks who are the real champions (of carbon sequestration),” says Jim Collins, Corteva Agriscience chief executive officer. “We want them to help share their best practices (with other farmers)  so we can get others to more broadly adopt them.”

If the program is successful, Collins says it will be continued and expanded.

“Some folks believe that agriculture is part of the problem and causing all this (climate change) when, in reality, we believe agriculture is part of the solution,” he says.

It’s also a way to help farmers adopt practices that lead to greater soil resilience, such as reduced tillage or cover crops. 

It’s also good business, Collins says.

“We have growers we work with who are making a profit per acre this year with (tools like) total cover cropping rotational systems,” he says. “They are having the highest corn yields this year that they've ever had.”

Gene Editing

Earlier this month, Corteva — through its digital agriculture business Granular — formed a relationship with Nori in developing an incentive system to measure and verify soil carbon. 

Collins says focusing on carbon sequestration can also help Corteva position its products to better sequester carbon and to help hold nitrogen and water in place. He’s particularly optimistic that gene editing can help the firm develop these products.

“We know there are some cultivars and varieties that produce twice the root mass in the soil,” he says.

Gene editing can enable scientists to develop this characteristic in varieties and cultivars that currently do not have this capacity.  

“This can put more biomass in the soil and also create a root zone that uptakes more nutrients,” says Collins. “That helps with better nitrogen utilization, as well.

Gene editing also holds potential for slicing methane emissions of rice. Under rice paddy production, decaying material emits large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.

“Gene-editing rice can produce dry-seeded varieties that can be planted and cultivated just like corn or soybeans,” he says.

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