"Off-Season 'Cover' Crops Expand As U.S. Growers Eye Low-Carbon Future"

"CHICAGO - Illinois farmer Jack McCormick planted 350 acres of barley and radishes last fall as part of an off-season crop that he does not intend to harvest. Instead, the crops will be killed off with a weed killer next spring before McCormick plants soybeans in the same dirt.

The barley and radishes will not be used for food, but Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE) will pay McCormick for planting them as the so-called cover crops will generate carbon offset credits for the seeds and chemicals maker.

The purpose of cover crops is to restore soil, reduce erosion and to pull climate-warming carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. The carbon trapped in roots and other plant matter left in the soil is measured to create carbon credits that companies can use to offset other pollution.

The practice shows how the agriculture industry is adapting as a result of climate change. Farmers no longer make money merely by selling crops for food and livestock feed - they may also be paid for the role crops can play in limiting planet-warming emissions."

Karl Plume reports for Reuters January 4, 2022.

Source: Reuters, 01/05/2022