Industrial agriculture is a leading source of the climate crisis. Big Ag causes continual topsoil loss (costing the US more than a trillion dollars every year), and pollutes our waterways.
Restoring soil health and its natural ability to draw down carbon from the atmosphere to slow global warming is a critical step to addressing these crises.
Healthier soil also produces more nutrient-rich food for us.
That’s why Green America, in partnership with over 150 farms, companies, NGOs, and soil scientists, launched the first-of-its-kind certification for regenerative agriculture in 2019, open to all farms and food companies: Soil Carbon Initiative.
What is regenerative agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture is farming with, not against, Mother Nature and improves soil health, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water quality, climate resiliency, food security, farm profitability, and rural community economics.
What is the Soil Carbon Initiative?
The Soil Carbon Initiative (SCI) is a world-changing, outcomes-based, commitment and verification program that empowers and incentivizes farmers, food companies, and the entire food supply chain to transition acreage to regenerative farming.
The initiative requires demonstrated improvement of soil health and carbon sequestration, which means real benefits for the climate, our soils, and our health. Backed by farmers and other leaders in this space, the standard is designed to be practical, accessible, and both farmer- and business-friendly.
And it’s changing the way we do agriculture.
Steve Tucker at Tucker Farms in Venango, Nebraska, said:
SCI is the most encompassing soil health program that I have ever seen, and the fact that it is non-exclusive with other certifications makes it even better! There are so many great aspects to SCI – access to guidance and support with farm planning, an emphasis on outcomes and progress, and the opportunity to improve farm profitability and market recognition.
Benefits to farmers participating in the 2022 Go-to-Market Pilots Program include:
- Information: Access to the world’s best soil health tests that provide real data on soil health progress – and interpretive guidance and planning for the producer’s best next steps, depending on farm goals, since every farm is different
- Farm Profitability: Focusing on soil health helps farms reduce input costs and increase profitability
- Network: Farmers who are part of the Go-to-Market pilots become part of SCI’s Founding Farmer network to exchange ideas with other farmers – and provide advice to shape the future of SCI
- Market: SCI helps farmers get ready for the growing market of companies and consumers looking to connect with farms focusing on soil health and climate outcomes
- Label & Verification: Farmers earn the SCI label to very their soil health progress for consumers and companies
- 2022 Financial Benefits: Pilot costs are covered for soil health tests and a cost share for expert regenerative consultants
- 2023 and Beyond Financial Benefits: Annual fees will always be waived for members of the SCI Founding Farmers network, and members have first eligibility for the SCI Farm Fund for transition investments and ongoing dividends (starting in 2023).
Erin Gorman, Soil Carbon Initiative director and Maryland-based farmer, said:
We welcome all producers who are interested in beginning or deepening their soil health journey to join our Go-to-Market pilots.
The deadline for applications is April 5.
Together, we can transform our food system into one that is sustainable, healthy, and beneficial for all.