Farmers increasing their production through improvements in soil health remain the fastest path to climate change mitigation. And yet, last month’s Farm Journal’s Carbon Survey found that only 3.3% of respondents (not farmers) were currently carbon farmers. This is a substantial increase over the survey done 5 months earlier (in March 2021) where about 1% of respondents reported they were in contracts for carbon farming. These surveys are part of the Ag Economy Barometer by Purdue University.
Even better news for humanity: Many farmers (55%) expressed interest in learning more and participating in carbon farming programs in the future. Most said that they don’t have enough information to adequately understand the opportunity and were looking for programs in their area or information on how to apply. In general, they’re looking for more information.
A lot of growers expressed concern that regulations related to carbon farming would come back to bite them with penalties or create circumstances where they lose control over their operation. And the payback for the effort still isn’t very high. Last March, the Ag Economy Barometer found the average carbon contract payment today is less than $20 an acre, with many contracts at less than half that amount.
The fastest way to mitigate climate change is soil based carbon-sequestration, which is a function of the soil microbe biome. While there are many types of life in the soil ecosystem, fungi plays the largest role in storing carbon in the soil. SymSoil’s products reseed and stimulate fungal growth for farmland — with high quality biochar as a significant accelerant to the restoration of these microbes. SymSoil buys biochar and conditions it for immediate use by farmers, as Fungal Infused Biochar.
At SymSoil, we look forward to next year’s rollout of the EMSC’s program in 2022. The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) is a non-profit, public-private member-based organization launching a national program for agriculture to recognize and reward farmers and ranchers for their environmental services to society.
Soil health, and the soil microbe biome, is paramount to the future agriculture. It maintains ecosystem function, sustains plant and animal communities, and creates critical ecological and natural resource impacts that benefit society. Improved water quality, water use conservation, biodiversity, and pollinator and wildlife habitat can all follow when the soil is tended to.
SymSoil is a soil-health, impact startup, with a focus on restoring the complete soil microbe biome. We are currently raising money, among other things, to have a staff member focused on programs like EMSC and ways for farmers to get credit for accelerating carbon sequestration with biology and other tools, such as biochar. For more information, reach out to ElizabethP@SymSoil.com