ESMC and Benson Hill Work With Farmers in Carbon Markets

Cindy Zimmerman

Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) and Benson Hill, Inc. have completed the first year of a carbon credit pilot program leveraging Benson Hill’s ‘farm to ingredient’ business model.

Last year, ESMC worked with soy and corn farmers across the Midwest to generate carbon credits and earn payments for reduced greenhouse gases and increased soil carbon as an outcome of their on-farm practice changes. The project with Benson Hill is unique because the company’s closed loop business model provides the capability to leverage its data aggregation from the farm through ingredient manufacturing, and streamlines the carbon credit generation process within ESMC’s program.

Debbie Reed, ESMC Executive Director, noted, “Our digitized program enables seamless enrollment and participation for farmers. The innovative model we are testing with Benson Hill allows us to develop farmer support from seed to harvest, and it enables rapid aggregation and utilization of robust data sets. This type of integrated partnership and infrastructure is critical to scale a long-term viable market that meets buyer and seller needs equally.”

Benson Hill is recruiting growers within its network for training in regenerative agriculture practices for project continuation in the 2022 season. ESMC is targeting 500,000 acres enrollment with the market program launch. ESMC’s program stacks multiple ecosystem credits, including increased soil carbon and reduced greenhouse gases, and water quality and water use conservation, to make ESMC a unique and attractive option for farmers.

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