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Helping farmers to enter the carbon market

(photo courtesy: Kristen Strough/USDA)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — An agriculture technology startup based in New Hampshire has been declared the winner of the 2021 Producer-Led Innovation Challenge from AgriNovus Indiana, the state’s initiative to help grow the agbioscience sector. Regrow Inc. was one of eight teams in the competition that seeks to find solutions stemming from farm-driven data.

This year’s challenge prompted teams to develop a software to help farmers take advantage of carbon markets.

“Entry into carbon markets is a complex process requiring verification of data that isn’t always accessible to farmers,” said Paul Hodgen, director at the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and a Putnam County farmer. “Creating a solution that allows for entry into these markets at different points based on an operation’s available data, allows for more transparency and participation going forward.”

Carbon markets allow farmers who institute sustainable practices on their farms to sell credits to companies that are trying to reduce, or offset, their carbon footprint. To take part in the market however, farmers must assemble multiple years of verifiable data. AgriNovus says that process can be time consuming and a barrier to market participation.

The company has developed an independent measurement, reporting and verification tool that uses crop and soil models, connectivity to farm management platforms and satellite imagery.

“The Producer-Led Innovation Challenge allowed us to better understand Indiana producers and the nuanced problems they face with carbon markets,” said Manal Elarab, global head of business and product development at Regrow. “With this knowledge, we found ways to provide a solution to their problem, rather than a problem looking for a solution. We are honored to be recognized as innovators in this space, and we look forward to continued progress in the industry.”

AgriNovus says more than 95% of Indiana farmers are not currently participating in a carbon market, but 67% say they plan to in the future. Producers completing the survey, conducted by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance, said the most critical requirement for farmer participation in carbon markets is simplicity.

Regrow will receive $25,000 from the Purdue Foundry for winning the competition. To learn more about the 2021 Producer-Led Innovation Challenge and the winning team, Regrow, click here.