Regenerative farming practices hold huge potential to build soil health, sequester carbon, and reward growers for ecosystem services. But because sequestration rates vary based on geography, soil type, and farming practices, accurate and cost-effective soil measurement is needed to better understand what practices are most effective in local contexts. To date, accurate testing has remained expensive, limiting its use. Haystack Ag is solving this problem.
Agricultural soil carbon markets are one mechanism incentivizing a shift to regenerative practices. These markets allow companies, governments, and consumers to purchase carbon offsets from agricultural producers in return for ecosystem services and sequestration outcomes. To this end, a 2018 Noble Research Institute report estimated the U.S. demand for soil carbon offsets at 190 million tonnes CO2-eq, at a value of $5.2 billion. Given the additional co-benefits associated with increasing soil carbon, soil carbon markets offer great potential for an environmental and economic win-win.
However, a crucial techno-economic barrier to robust market function still remains: there is currently no cost effective and scalable solution for measuring and verifying changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) with the accuracy and precision that is needed. Gold standard dry combustion quantification methods that are accurate enough to detect small changes in carbon from year to year rely on labor intensive and expensive testing, the cost of which can ultimately negate the financial upside to growers. To further unlock regenerative agriculture’s potential at scale, we need a cost-effective and accurate way to measure changes in carbon over time. This will facilitate faster learning cycles regarding what practices are most effective in different contexts, increased value being passed on to growers, higher confidence in measurement and verification protocols, more robust market function, and ultimately, increased adoption of regenerative practices.
Haystack is committed to removing this barrier with a high-accuracy, yet cost-effective testing service, backed by rigorous science and innovative technology. By taking a systems approach, we’re able to reduce testing costs while maintaining highly accurate measurements, rivaling traditional gold standard quantification methods at a significantly lower cost.