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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. 

Use the link below to create a profile on to see how your score is calculated.

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

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. 

Farmer ROI Example: 1,500 acres of corn, 200 APH & default farming practices

CI Baseline = 20.7*

45z biofuel tax credit value = $135,000 ($0.45/bu)**

* CI Score based on model defaults for Washington County, IA
** Value to biofuel industry starting in January 2025

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

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!

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 29.1g GHG/MJ, measured with units specifically for ethanol production.

Low CI (Carbon Intensity) Grain being harvested.

Frequently Asked Questions about CI Scores

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.

Yes, farmers will be paid based on how much lower their score is compared to the Average score in their county, with the national average being 29.1.

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

That number comes from the Argon National Lab. They developed the GREET model which is an analytical tool that simulates the energy use and emissions output of various vehicle and fuel combinations. The carbon intensity score is a unit of measure to standardize all these different types of fuels and energy.

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

Gasoline has a score of 100, while ethanol has a score of 55.

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 adjustments or calculations reflect the latest information.

In our system, the average score is 8. (as of January 9, 2024)

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 is derived from the reduction in carbon intensity points. Each point lowered is worth approximately $0.054 (or 5.4 cents) per bushel. A free profile on TopSoil.Ag 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 the National Average of 29.1 to align with environmentally conscious practices.

The big drivers here are these new 45 Z tax credits and other low-carbon fuel initiatives like California. Farmers should also pay attention to biofuels and ethanol plants. Farmers need to understand their score because our score is part of that ethanol score.

There are the emerging 45Z tax credits and other initiatives promoting low-carbon fuels, such as those in California. Farmers must stay up to date on developments in biofuels and ethanol plants. Understanding their scores is crucial, as these scores play a pivotal role in shaping the overall ethanol score.