If farmers make changes to the way they manage soil on farms—and that happened on farmland globally—it could theoretically suck a trillion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, or as much as humans have emitted since the Industrial Revolution. The changes aren’t particularly complicated, and involve things like rotating crops, planting cover crops, and avoiding tilling the soil. The problem is modern agriculture demands more food at higher speeds, and since farmers aren’t getting paid fairly, they don’t have much of an incentive to grow crops sustainably.
That’s where Indigo comes in, a new marketplace that is trying to incentivize farmers by connecting them with companies and others who want to pay for carbon offsets. Like new technology designed to suck carbon dioxide out of the air, work on farms can help tackle the problem of CO2 already in the atmosphere. But while carbon-sucking machines can cost $100 per ton of sequestered CO2, changes on a farm can happen much more affordably.
Farmers can sign into the marketplace and receive up to $20 per ton of carbon they sequester per year, which could motivate farmers to change their practices considering each acre can sequester two to three tons of carbon a year. That payment could potentially double the salaries of farmers who are struggling to make ends meet. There are many challenges that will come with making this carbon-offsetting marketplace go mainstream, but if it does work, it could have a huge effect on emissions.