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It Pays to Certify
Your Crop

Learn How to Make Carbon Intensity Work for You...

CEO & Founder of Continuum Ag, Mitchell Hora dives deeper into Carbon Intensity at an event in Iowa.

What IS Carbon Intensity Anyway?

When you hear businesses talk about their carbon footprint, what they’re really talking about is the amount of gasses like carbon dioxide and methane a company generates as part of their day-to-day operations. Primarily, these gasses come in the form of fossil fuel emissions from running machinery and combustion engines, but it can also be a side-effect of refining processes that release certain chemicals into the atmosphere. 

The more carbon-based emissions it takes to produce an item, the higher its carbon intensity.

Carbon Intensity measures how much carbon-based energy goes into producing a single bushel of grain.

You may already be in the money and not even know it!

Low Carbon Intensity = Higher Profitability

Discovering your Carbon Intensity Score is the first step in maximizing revenues. At Continuum, we do this through our innovative TopSoil® platform, a simple-to-use technology that lets you forecast, record, and evaluate the impacts of activities such as:

  • Planting cover crops
  • Implementing reduced or no-till
  • Increasing crop yields

And while these are great metrics to know for any business, there are 2 ways commercial farms can leverage this information into profits.

 

  1. Use TopSoil to see how to improve soil health and maximize yields, thus increasing output and profitability.
  2. Gain CI Certification to demand a price premium for your low CI crops from biofuel producers who receive special tax credits for low CI fuels.

Learn how to empower & monetize production data!

(click below for a free download)

CI Certification documents can help a farmer better understand what CI Certification means.
The sun sets on a successful corn harvest in Southeast Iowa.
In 2024, it is estimated that 6 Billion Bushels of Corn will go into making ethanol.

Harvesting Profits with Carbon Intensity

Farming production with low CI scored grain is more valuable and attractive to end users. For example; the CI score of 0.0 means the bushel is net carbon neutral. Premium payments for lower carbon grains encourage growers to implement practices that lower carbon emissions and ultimately result in lower CI scores.

Once you know your score certain practices can drastically lower your score. These variables will impact your score & can be estimated online via our CI Calculator Tool.

  1. Yield- higher yields spread emissions over more bushels, lowering the average score
  2. Plant a cover crop
  3. Implement reduced or no till
  4. Reduce inputs (NPK, fuel, and chemical)
 

In general, the more you compound these practices, the lower your CI score will be. The lower the score, the more value provided to the ethanol industry, allowing you the ability to negotiate a higher price for your grain.

Understanding the Section 45Z Tax Credits

As influenced by the August 2022 passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, ethanol and other biofuel producers can earn substantial tax credits for lowering the carbon intensity of their fuels, Section 45z now assigns a direct value to a Carbon Intensity Score. This transparency allows growers to securely monetize their farm data by attaching its value to a farms production.

Section 45Z allows sizable tax credits to ethanol plants that consume low CI grains. The tax credit value to an ethanol plant is estimated to be $.054 cents per CI point below the industry estimated standard CI Score of 29.1. 

Currently, grains contribute to about 50% of the carbon intensity of a gallon of biofuel. Farmers who reduce their corn’s CI Score below 29 are being sought after and paid for their low carbon crop and the data associated to prove the score.

Approval details are still being finalized by the IRS, however; it is anticipated that the majority of these premiums will be shared with producers. Sustainably sourced, “low CI grain” puts farmers in control and keeps an equitable balance of reward for carrying the risk.

Sustainability is a key driver for a profitable future.
Currently grains contribute to about 50% of the carbon intensity of a gallon of biofuel.

Getting Started on TopSoil is as Easy as 1, 2, 3...