Soil Carbon Initiative launches new agricultural certification pilot projects

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The Soil Carbon Initiative (SCI) has announced its 2022 farmer-focused go-to-market pilots.

SCI is an outcome-based, independently verified, regenerative agriculture certification program open to all farms and businesses in the food supply chain.

While early SCI pilots focused on the technical aspects of soil testing protocols, the 2022 go-to-market pilots build on that work by inviting farmers to apply for 100 new locations to qualify for information, market access, networking opportunities and ICS labeling to check progress with businesses and consumers. The deadline to apply is April 5, 2022.

SCI was launched in 2019 in partnership with over 150 farms, businesses, NGOs and soil scientists. The initiative is an engagement and verification program that empowers and incentivizes farmers and the food supply chain to transition from acreage to regenerative management. It promotes soil health, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water quality, climate resilience, food security, farm profitability and improving the economy of rural communities.

Alisa Gravitz, President and CEO of Green America, said, “The Soil Carbon Initiative is a world-changing engagement and verification program designed to address crises in soil health and climate, develop regenerative agriculture and contribute to agricultural prosperity.

“We invite all growers who want to start or deepen their soil health journey to join our Go-to-Market pilots,” said Erin Gorman, SCI Director and Maryland farmer.

Benefits for farmers participating in the 2022 commercialization pilot program include:

  • Access to the world’s best soil health tests that provide real data on soil health progress and guidance for interpretation and planning

  • Focusing on soil health helps farms reduce input costs and increase profitability

  • Farmers who are part of Go-to-Market pilots become members of the SCI Founder Farmers Network to exchange ideas with other farmers and provide advice to shape the future of SCI

  • SCI helps farmers prepare for the growing market of businesses and consumers looking to connect with farms focused on soil health and climate outcomes.

  • Earn the SCI label to verify progress with businesses and consumers

Pilot costs are covered for soil health testing and a share of costs for expert regeneration consultants. Annual fees will still 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 (from 2023).

Supported by farmers and other leaders in the field, the standard is designed to be practical, accessible and user-friendly for farmers and businesses. It is open to any company and farmer, in any production system, cultivating:

  • Feed grain and/or hay

  • Food grade oats

  • food grade wheat

  • Specialty crops – tomatoes, almonds, olives, citrus

  • Peas, pulses, legumes

  • Cultures for the supplement and/or vitamin industry

  • Farms practicing indigenous food practices and/or owned by BIPOC farmers

“SCI is the most comprehensive soil health program I have ever seen, and the fact that it is not exclusive with other certifications makes it even better! There are so many great aspects to SCI – l “access to farm planning advice and support, a focus on results and progress, and the opportunity to improve farm profitability and market recognition,” says Steve Tucker of Tucker Farms in Rome, Georgia.

The verified standard based on the results of the Soil Carbon Initiative also gives food producers and manufacturers the opportunity to measure and motivate improvements in soil health.

Producers of any system – conventional, organic, non-GMO, biodynamic – are eligible for SCI verification. Centered on the Climate Smart discussion and based on demonstrated results in soil health and carbon sequestration, the SCI standard rewards commitments, improvement and achievements in soil health and soil carbon.

Raquel Krach of Massa Organics in Glenn, Calif., said, “Having a solid farm plan is an essential tool farmers need to be successful in regenerative agriculture. By providing education and guidance, SCI can ensure that farmers who enroll in this program have the best chance of success from the start. »

Independent SCI verification is performed by SCS Global in Emeryville, CA, and soil health testing by Regen Ag Labs in Pleasanton, Nebraska.

For more information, including details to participate in an information session webinar for interested farmers and businesses on March 15, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. EDT/9:00 a.m. PDT, go to https://www.soilcarboninitiative. org/pilots.


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