On this episode of the Fueling the Future podcast I spoke with Steele Lorenz, head of sustainable business at Farmer’s Business Network. We spoke about a topic that I think is exciting and that could deliver real GHG reductions at the farm-level across the U.S. while supporting the country’s farmers (and in turn, farm communities): paying farmers for reductions in farm-level carbon intensity. Following is an excerpt from our discussion, which you can download or listen to at the link below or listen to in ITunes.
“Let me start actually with something really interesting you said which was an assumption about how much technology is on the farm and how technologically savvy growers are. I have to tell you that modern farming produces a tremendous amount of data from exceedingly high tech equipment. Harvesters, sprayers combines are all collecting hundreds of thousands of data points every acre. And growers are really using and maximizing that to the extent that they can to make better informed decisions about what they should plant, when they should plant, how they should plant or cultivate and how they should market.
So, I think that there is some misconceptions that we have to put to rest. We often joke that to be a grower today not only do you have to be an expert in mechanics and engine repair, you have to be an expert agronomist, and increasingly you have to be an expert data manipulator and to some extent coder. Because all of these machines include an increasing amount of data and computer sophistication. So anyway, that is the segue into what the opportunity is in the low carbon fuel standard.
We started working on this about two years ago because of all the information that’s available. Really this wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago, but now with technologies like the FBN analytics platform and the amount of information that’s collected in the field, it is possible to assign a carbon intensity score with a high amount of certainty and verifiability to bushels that are coming off of individual fields. And so, when we started to look at that and see really how we could facilitate that, we started talking to the California Air Resources Board. It was about two years ago now they put us together with a couple of other groups that were working on the same idea from different angles.”