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CI Scores

Learn More About the Value of Knowing Your Carbon Intensity Score

How is Carbon Intensity Scored?

The reason Carbon Intensity is evaluated for a score is so that there is a real, concrete number that measures effectiveness. Without an actual CI score, you’re essentially guessing about your carbon footprint – and could end up applying efforts and resources in the wrong direction.

Knowing your CI Score helps ensure you get the most bang for your buck for all the practices you are already doing to be sustainable on your farm. 

Low CI Grain Being Harvested

The Lower Your Score - The More You Can Earn

Another reason CI scores have been getting a lot of attention in the agriculture industry lately is because of the potential to solve one of farming’s longest-standing challenges: Price Control. 

Historically, growers have had little to no control to establish their own price for their crops… Until now.

Thanks to the lucrative 45Z tax credits, grains that are produced with lower total carbon emissions are highly desirable to end-users in the biofuels industry. Like anything, high demand means higher prices, especially if you have the right kind of supply. 

Remember, every point you can bring your CI score down from industry averages, the more profitable it is for biofuel refiners… and for you. 

Reducing Your CI Score

Once you know your CI score, the next step is finding ways to lower it. Here are just a few of the top methods that can help lower your score:

  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 – Such as NPK, fuel, and chemicals
  5. Apply manure

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.

What is a CI Score? Click the video above to have the CEO & Founder of Continuum Ag, Mitchell Hora, answer that question for you!

See the Difference Various Tactics Can Make

CI Score Pricing

How much does it cost to get my CI Score?

It costs $500 / CI Score

How do you find out your farms CI Score?

Visit to sign-up and create your farm profile, this process takes 10-15 minutes and then you can unlock your score by paying $500.

What do you get when you purchase your CI Score?

The CI Score is a product for farmers who are only interested in knowing their CI Score, understanding how certain practices impact their score, and the industry value associated with each score. This product is included in the CI Certification product but is also available as a standalone product offering.


  • Estimated CI Score with the industry value associated with the score.
  • Personalized CI Score scenario tool which shows opportunities to lower your score by incorporating different practices.

Carbon Intensity (CI) Score

A CI Score is the carbon footprint score assigned to a bushel of grain, biofuel, or other product. The score is linked to the unit of production and is used with quantifying the total carbon footprint of a company or product.

A CI score of 0 equates to carbon neutrality, the higher the score, the poorer impact the creation of the product has on the environment. Today, the estimated national average CI score for corn is 29.1kg CO2E/mmBtu, measured with units specifically for ethanol production.

Carbon Intensity (CI) is the amount of energy that goes into producing one bushel of grain.

Frequently Asked Questions about CI Scores

According to the Argonne GREET Feedstock Calculator, each United States County has a given default CI score for crop production. Typically the CI Score ranges 28-30.

Our system is directly linked to the GREET model and automatically updates when there are changes. Users with existing CI scores will be notified of how these updates may affect their scores.

In the future, we anticipate CI scores becoming integral to all industries and markets. Staying ahead of these programs is crucial for gaining a competitive advantage.

Optimizing nutrients would lower the CI score. The energy associated with fertilizers, fuel, and other inputs contributes to the CI score, so reducing these inputs results in a lower overall score.

Currently, these two scores don’t have a direct relationship impacting overall scores. However, maintaining healthy soil can reduce the need for fertilizers, improving yield and subsequently lowering the CI score.

We anticipate that farmers will be paid based on how much lower their score is compared to the default score for their county.

The cost is $500 and you can start by creating a Farm Profile on TopSoil.Ag.

29.1 comes from the Argonne National Lab’s Default Score for Champaign County, Illinois (Default County of Feedstock Calculator). At Continuum Ag we’ve chosen this number for simplicity purposes.

Biofuel companies rely on low CI crops from farmers as one method to earning credits, while farmers depend on these credits to monetize their scores. The collaboration between the two is essential, as they complement each other in achieving their respective goals.

Petroleum gasoline has a score of nearly 100, while ethanol has a score most often in the mid-50s.

No, it’s not necessary to wait. The GREET model undergoes occasional minimal changes, and since TopSoil utilizes the actual GREET model, any updates can be readily incorporated. Your CI score, if purchased today, will automatically be updated in your TopSoil account whenever necessary.

Through our pursuit of scoring 1 billion bushels, we have found the average CI Score of approximately 11. To see our most up-to-date statistics, visit our Billion Bushel page on our website.

Getting started is easy with our dealer network and consultants available to assist you. Visit to begin the process.

Carbon intensity is the amount of energy that goes into every unit or every bushel of grain. The fertilizer, diesel fuel, and pesticides are just some of the inputs that go towards a Carbon Intensity Score.

The value will be subject to producer-specific factors. We estimate that each point lowered is worth approximately $0.054 (or 5.4 cents) per bushel. A free profile on provides access to the CI calculator for precise calculations.

You want your Carbon Intensity (CI) Score to be as low as possible, with the goal of staying below your county default. Ultimately a score of 0 signifies Carbon Neutrality while a negative score signifies Carbon Negative production.

Knowing your score and verifying your practices is critical to capitalize on 45Z tax credits. Data will be paramount and the IRS has already released guidance in regards to verification. We are bullish on the long-term concept and see other emerging programs on the horizon.