Land O'Lakes' Truterra launches TruCarbon carbon program

Nation’s first Farmer-Owned carbon program promises streamlined farmer experience.

Truterra, the sustainability business and subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, has launched TruCarbon, a new carbon storage program to help farmers generate and sell carbon credits to private-sector buyers. 

TruCarbon is different than other carbon platforms in that it is part of one of the nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives and has been designed from the ground up to be easy to use by farmers and reward them for adopting conservation practices that maximize carbon storage in crop fields. 

Farmers who participate in TruCarbon will use the Truterra Insights Engine data platform, along with their retailers, to measure and track on-farm practices and model new practice changes, like cover crops and no-till. Truterra Insights Engine takes into account other factors like environmental impact and profitability to equip farmers to take advantage of carbon markets and additional ecosystem services markets as they emerge, says Jason Weller, vice president of Truterra. 

“We can come to your farm and help farmers understand on a field-by-field basis what happens when you add cover crops, improve nutrient use efficiency, and change tillage practices,” Weller says. 

TruCarbon also maximizes the value and return for farmers with premium carbon credit value, Weller adds.

“We believe this is a farmer-friendly approach [to carbon storage]. We’re not asking you to be your own data verifier. We’re allowing the farmer to focus on grain production,” Weller says. 

Carbon storage in soils benefits farmers financially, but also improves water quality and helps fight climate change, says Wayne Honeycutt, CEO of the Soil Health Institute, which is collaborating with Truterra on TruCarbon metrics and soil sampling protocols. 

“Farmers who adopt responsible soil health practices build drought resilience, reduce erosion, and minimize nutrient losses,” he says.

How to participate?

TruCarbon is launching with Microsoft as its first secured buyer to purchase carbon in 2021, which will help meet the company’s commitment to be carbon negative by 2030. For the initial launch, participating farmers may receive $20 per ton of carbon with payments this summer for this first tranche of credits. 

Data from the Soil Health Institute, indicates that 1 acre of regeneratively managed soil could sequester between .2 to .75 tons of carbon annually, depending on region, practices, and soil types.

Through TruCarbon, soil organic carbon levels will be measured using both crop modeling, as well as in-field sampling. Truterra, LLC will pay for farmers to get soil sampling on the fields they seek to enroll in the program to evaluate soil carbon levels. Soil sampling data will then be evaluated along with up to eight years of historic data on soil management practices (three years baseline data, plus each year of practice change data up to five years) entered into the Truterra Insights Engine to determine how much of the sampled carbon is the result of the conservation practices.

Qualifying farmers may be compensated for carbon sequestration retroactively up to five years based on the soil health practices they adopted in prior growing seasons. Truterra will handle soil testing and other activities designed to ensure maximum credit quality and value. Weller says customers with affiliation with Land O’Lakes serviced cooperatives will get priority on TruCarbon participation. Only farmers who have adopted carbon storage practices within the last five years, or will start new programs from now forward, are eligible. Farmers who have engaged in these practices, such as no-till and cover crops, for more than five years are not eligible for TruCarbon, according to Truterra. 

Farmers can begin the information and enrollment process by visiting https://www.truterraag.com/CarbonSurvey

“TruCarbon is like no other offering on the market because it is built with the farmer at the center, backed by the most cutting-edge technology platform on the market,” Weller says. 

“We’re on the front edge of the next evolution in agriculture. The Truterra precision and data-driven approach can maximize the capability of every acre. This is the story of a 100-year-old farmer cooperative thinking for the next 100 years,” he adds. 

For more information about TruCarbon and how to get involved, visit truterraag.com/Carbon

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