- By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media
Indigo Ag Launches Indigo Acres to Help Farmers Transitioning to Regenerative Production Practices
Indigo Ag has consolidated its innovative agronomic tools and services into Indigo Acres, a single platform designed to support farmers in the implementation of regenerative farming practices, which in turn can improve the health, and increase the carbon content of soil.
“Regenerative Agriculture” refers to a holistic method of production that rebuilds soil health and organic matter, restores biodiversity, improves the nutritional profile and resilience of crops, improves the water-holding capacity of soil, and sequesters carbon to draw down atmospheric CO2 levels.
It is understood that agriculture, like mining, is a primary sector of the economy, meaning that the growth and development of other economically important sectors depend upon it. And like mining, since the 1800s, it has been widely accepted that farming, by its very nature, is an extractive industry. But whereas mining is obviously so, the extractive nature of farming is much less so – embodied in water pollution, soil degradation, erosion, and loss of fertility.
Along with this, we have done a poor job in modernizing how we look at the profit and loss associated with farming. Higher crop yields and more animals, partnered with low cost of inputs, have traditionally meant higher profit. For centuries, the unaccounted losses tied to traditional extractive farming have been viewed as unavoidable, and inherent – but it need not be this way, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, who state that a shift from extractive to regenerative agriculture is not only possible, but profitable, when taking a more modern, learned, and complete approach to the costs and output of agricultural production.
Taking the Lead
In September 2018, Indigo closed on a $250 million Series E backed by both new and existing investor including Baillie Gifford, Investment Corporation of Dubai, the Alaska Permanent Fund, and the company’s founder Flagship Pioneering. This latest round brought total funding for the company to $650 million.
As the company’s funding continues to grow, it is evolving and expanding beyond its work developing microbial products that increase crop yields, to add services that will see it become a full-service digital platform for farmers.
Today, Indigo is “focused on delivering a portfolio of products and services that can help improve grower profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health”, and the Indigo Acres platform will serve to bring this mission to the farmgate, giving farmers access to a new revenue channel through carbon credits, lowering input costs, improving farm resilience to extreme weather conditions, and by offering premium prices for sustainably-grown crops through Indigo Marketplace.
“At Indigo, we believe that to address three of the biggest challenges in agriculture – grower profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health – we have to question the whole system,” said David Perry, CEO, Indigo. “We see the adoption of regenerative practices as an important part of that change, and have designed our new tiered offer, Indigo Acres, to help growers make that transition.”
The three tiers, designed to better meet the range of needs of a variety of agricultural producers are:
Indigo Acres Standard - A no-cost option. Growers enroll in Indigo Carbon and e-commerce platform Indigo Marketplace for conducting direct grain transactions.
Indigo Acres Plus - Offers growers data-driven recommendations from agronomists who offer four in-depth visits per year, patented microbiome seed treatments, and grain quality testing to advance profitability.
Indigo Acres Complete - This tier maximizes growers’ soil carbon content and profitability. It offers year-round visits from Indigo certified regenerative agronomists, microbiome seed treatments, crop pricing tools, premium buyer contracts, handheld grain quality testing, and other components.
Growers can sign up for a 12-month trial of Indigo Acres Plus and Indigo Acres Complete at a per-acre cost structure, and if joined before the end of 2019, have the potential to get paid $15 per carbon credit (one credit is issued for each metric ton of carbon sequestered in the soil or eliminated through a reduction of emissions) earned in 2020 through Indigo Carbon.