PODCAST: Soil Health, Carbon Intensity Scores and the Bottom Line For Your Farm
8 Apr 2443m 57s

Suddenly, we’re hearing a lot about Carbon Intensity Scores in Agriculture. What is a CI score, why does it matter, and how can you use it (eventually) to improve your financials? Those questions and more are addressed by Temple Rhodes who is joined by Holganix's (XA Partner) Barrett Ersek and David Stark. If you’d like to improve your soil AND financial health, tune into this!

This episode is presented by CLAAS.

00:00 Soil health, carbon intensity scores, and your bottom line. That's what we're talking about in this episode 00:05 of Extreme Ag Cutting the Curve. Welcome to Extreme Ag Cutting the Curve podcast, where real farmers share real insights 00:13 and real results to help you improve your farming operation. This episode of Cutting the Curve is brought to you by cloth 00:19 where machines aren't just made, they're made for more with a wide range of tractors, combines, forger and hay tools. 00:27 Cloth is a family business just as driven, demanding, and dedicated as yours. Go to cloth.com 00:33 and start cutting your curve with their cutting edge equipment. And now here's your host, Damien Mason. 00:40 Hey there. Welcome to another fantastic episode of Extreme Eyes Cutting the Curve. I got a great one for you Today we're talking 00:45 about soil health. You know, this is a, something that's getting a tremendous amount more attention than it ever did. 00:50 We're talking about carbon intensity scores, kind of a new thing. Didn't even hear about this. 00:54 Didn't even know how a CI score was six months ago, and now it's all over the place. We're also gonna talk about your bottom line, 01:00 both on your balance sheet and actually making money off your acres. Doesn't that sound really good right now, 01:05 especially when we're talking about having a 40% deduct and farm income off of what we were two years ago, 25% off of just last year. 01:13 We want you to make money. We want you to be a better farmer and a little bit of agronomist, 01:18 and that's why you're tuning in. We so appreciate you doing so. Temple Rhodes is with me, also Barrett ic, 01:24 and then David Stark. They are with Holganix, one of our business partners here. And we're talking about the soil health 01:29 and where this is all going. Two weeks ago, temple ran into Barrett at an event on the, uh, Northeast, and this kind of topic came up. 01:38 And then again, it's about a daily thing. We're hearing about this carbon intensity thing. Kelly Garrett says, I believe three years from now, 01:46 every food item you buy and product of agriculture is going to then have a carbon intensity score posted on it 01:53 as a means of marketing so that the companies can prove that they are green. I don't know if that's coming or not, 01:58 but that's one of his predictions. I've heard more carbon intensity talk in the last six months in this industry than I ever had prior to that. 02:04 And I think that's probably where we're gonna start. Uh, Barrett Go carbon intensity soil health. Make the connection. 02:13 Yeah. So look, at the end of the day, we want to have healthier soils in order to have better higher production from our farms. 02:20 But if we can also quantify how we're improving our soil health in a way that improves our carbon intensity, uh, numbers, 02:29 we're gonna get paid more for the grains that come off of our farms. Um, and if, if we can get paid more for our grains and, and, 02:36 and really, uh, show that our our grains are worth more because of the CI score, then then we're gonna win. How do we do that? Well, 02:43 if you can do things like improve yield, uh, while reducing fertilizer inputs, you know, those two things, that's a numerator 02:50 and a denominator that if you can improve either one or both, you're gonna improve your CI score. If you can use, prove that you've used less diesel fuel, uh, 02:58 you you don't, you don't till you plant cover crops. All of these things are gonna improve your CI score and help you get paid more for the commodity that comes off 03:07 of your crop and, and help differentiate what comes off of your farm, uh, As a differentiator. That's how you bear 03:12 that. And you knew temples from rural Maryland and you just used in one sentence, numerator and denominator don't do. 03:20 That's the ones, the ones on the top. The ones, okay. Anyway, uh, Let me, let me say it another way. 03:26 Basically, look at how much, how much corn are you producing per acre? What's your bushel per acre and what's the input? 03:33 So if we can reduce your NPK input Yep. And improve your bushel perfer off that farm, you're gonna win and improve your carbon index score. 03:41 So here's where I wanna, I Understood, I understood what you were saying. Uh, Damien just assumed that I didn't, 03:48 but thanks for the clarification. All right. So, uh, um, if I didn't pick on temple once in a while about not knowing 03:58 a numerator from a denominator, he would think I didn't love him. Okay. So here's what I, I think we wanna go with that. 04:04 This carbon intensity thing, it's honestly, it's, it's been, it's, it's being talked about now. 04:10 I mean, I'm on the road all winter here. We're recording this, dear listener at the end of March, 2024. 04:16 This is something I just started hearing about this winter on the meeting circuit. Uh, you know, I'm out doing speeches and events 04:21 and I gotta say, there's really something to this. So I think this, and Barrett can speak to this and Temple, we 04:29 and ag have been hearing about this carbon thing for a while. You, it was a company years ago called Indigo. 04:34 And, and it was the next thing and the next thing. This is the next evolution in my opinion. Because it's not just a program that you're signing up 04:41 and saying, well, I'd, I'd done a couple things. So I reduced my acres and I'm gonna get a payment of $20. And Barrett, and I spoke about this 04:47 before we hit the record button. This is evolution two or three in this whole thing because it's not a program, it's just getting a score 04:55 for your acres or your bushels. And then there's going to be a premium associated with that for where your product goes in the next phase 05:04 of the value chain. That's right. And, and this is real dollars from real companies. This isn't just like hocus pocus map. 05:11 Let me give you an example of, I was out in Illinois a couple weeks ago and there was a big ethanol producer, 05:16 the biggest ethanol producer from the area. Um, and they were saying that with this new 45 Z tax program that's gonna come live in 2025, they said 05:25 that if we can prove that we have, uh, the right CI numbers for the, for the corn that we're bringing in 05:32 to make ethanol, if we can prove that it was, it was grown with low, low carbon footprint, 05:36 we will potentially double our profits. This is the ethanol. People say we, our profits will two x. However, the limitation on us doing this is getting enough, 05:47 uh, good CI corn to be able to have as the feedstock to the ethanol in order to double our profits. So here's what we're gonna do for you, 05:54 Mr. Farmer and Mrs. Farmer. We want to share that doubling of profits. In fact, we'll only give you half of it in the form 06:00 of higher, higher bushels per ac. How, how many dollars per bushel of foreign? And we, in fact, we need it. 06:08 And, and if we don't get it, then we're not gonna be able to get this tax credit. We're not gonna be able to participate in this market. 06:12 We're determined to do this. And by the way, we buy 40% of the corn in this area. So I need everybody to get behind me 06:20 and help me make you, help you make more money and help me make more money as an ethanol producer. And if you don't, you may just lose your biggest buyer. 06:29 'cause at some point I'm only gonna buy the corn with good CI numbers. Yeah. And I wanna get to the, I wanna get to, 06:35 we're gonna make the connection to still health. That's where David comes in. He's a smart dude. He's a PhD. But before we do that on top of the money, 06:41 'cause again, I think I'm a money guy. I think Barrett's a money guy. Um, is this really gonna happen Temple from a farmer 06:48 perspective, on the one hand, I've got optimism. There's three ethanol plants within 30 miles of my farm in Indiana. 06:54 Um, if they're, if they're bidding up a premium, putting a premium on bushels that come, that can demonstrate a lower carbon 07:01 intensity, I get the whole thing. 'cause that's how they get their, their tax. I understand it. I believe 07:06 that the tax credits just like a lot of things, just like the renewable fuel standard that was invented 20 years ago, 07:12 that created the whole ethanol industry, if you will. I, I understand it. Is it gonna get, is that money gonna get to your pocket 07:21 or is this really gonna happen for you, the farmer one year from now? So, um, yes, I think that it's gonna happen. 07:30 I think that it's, um, right now, you know, we're waiting for the IRS the government to figure out exactly how 07:37 to implement this 45 Z tax credit. So once that gets implemented, we're going to, we're going to get there. 07:44 It, it might not be now, it might be a year from now, it may be six months from now. We don't know when it's gonna get there. 07:52 But here's the great thing about the whole CI score. So everybody had, the, the problem with the carbon market has been, 08:00 it's been low adoption, right? Um, farmers won't adopt it because you're tying up your land 08:06 for years and years to come. Because if you sign up, you may tie up two years, it may tie up five years. 08:12 You may have to, um, they might have to come out there and do core samples, um, before a crop and after a crop showing that you're sequestering carbon. 08:21 All those things that farmers don't want to hear. We don't want people on our farms. We want to keep everything to ourselves. 08:28 We don't wanna sign up for something. We think we're selling our soul. All of those things are a problem. 08:34 Well, with the CI score, it makes everybody play right? So, you know, some of the older generations, you know, when you talk about carbon, the carbon market, 08:44 and as soon as you bring it up, they say, okay, we do a good job so somebody else can, can pollute. That's not what this is. 08:52 What this is, is this is everybody trying to do the right thing. They are trying to get us to have a higher adoption rate. 09:00 This this adoption of this works because the old, the old carbon credit programs and stuff, um, 09:08 if you are already doing no-till it, you're out. If you're already doing carbon, uh, or you're already doing cover crops, you are out. 09:15 If you're already, um, doing all the good things like, um, uh, reducing your fertilizer 09:22 Or yeah, strip ni nitrogen reduction strip till, All of those things, yeah. Don't matter. It's everything 09:29 that we've been doing in extreme s all of us farmers and all the really good farmers across the country that are trying to go down this path 09:36 and trying to have better. So soil health, this is just a program where in the CI score program, you check the box. 09:44 This is one more thing that checks the box. We can check the box. We do this, we check the box, we do that. 09:50 And the more boxes do you check, the lower your CI score gets, hence the more money that that low carbon intensity score gets. 09:59 Like before the carbon, um, sequestration where it was just sequestering carbon. Yep. It basically took the ground that you did. 10:09 And Kelly's ground is gonna sequester a lot more carbon than what mine is. Well, this is not paid on that. 10:16 This is all about the tools that you already are doing and using in your toolbox that get that down. So, you know, when you're talking about carbon, 10:28 that end of it, and then you talk about this end of it with the CI score, it just takes things from a different perspective 10:36 that makes everybody play in the same box. It's gonna start with the ethanol market. Yep. That's going to happen. That's gonna roll over into the 10:44 poultry industry, the pork industry, the beef industry, everything that follows from there. And Kelly's right. It's all gonna have a CI score. 10:53 And if you think that's not coming, you're wrong. Because the poultry industry, I've already talked to them. I've already talked to a couple of the other meat producers. 11:01 It's coming. They know it's coming and they're ready to jump on board. This is a big, big deal. 11:07 Um, because it lets everybody play in the same arena. All right, so on the money, you are optimistic that it actually happens. 11:17 Uh, it sounds like Barrett is completely, I just, you know what? I don't wanna be Charlie Brown 11:22 and that money that's allegedly out there is Lucy holding the football. I I just don't want to be that thing 11:28 where it gets pulled out because, so, I mean, this could be a, this could be a boom, this could be a, an absolute, uh, you know, you, 11:36 you could put a pr you know, throw 50 cents more on a bushel 40 cents, whatever that number is, right? 11:41 That's what we're talking about. You could throw 30 cents more on Bush. And then I kinda wonder, well, 11:47 what farmers do generally is you give 'em a chance to make 50 cents, they're gonna over overachieve, and then it ends up being that low carbon corn, 11:58 for instance, has no valley. It's kinda like cage free eggs. Hey, Kroger seven ground cage free eggs. 12:02 McDonald's says they want cage free eggs. So the industry converted largely to cage free eggs. And now there's almost no premium on cage free eggs. 12:09 I worry that low carbon corn three years from now is gonna have no premium attached to it. 12:12 Is that a valid concern Barrett David? Yeah, I mean, look, I, I can see where you're going. I mean, there is a carrot and a stick with any, 12:19 any incentive that ever happens. Um, but the op, the opportunity for the farmer is to stay ahead, um, 12:27 and to take advantage of everything they can while they can. And so here's the deal. 12:32 If, if I, I see the CI numbers in farming almost like a, it's gonna become like your FICO score. 12:38 Yeah. It's gonna, it's gonna grade you on what type of farmer you are and what type of output you produce. Um, as far as, as far as the, the carbon, uh, market goes 12:48 and, and how people look at it. And people are gonna pay more for output from those, from those farms. 12:55 Now, let's just say we start with ethanol and ethanol's the big payer right now, um, five years from now, maybe it is an ethanol, maybe at 13:02 that point we're moving into CI chicken and, and produce selling their, they got their organic chicken, which may or may not have a good CI score, 13:09 but then they've got this, this, this CI score chicken that's, that's gonna be worth more money than, than, than the lower, than the lower, uh, cost chicken 13:16 that's produced with commodity grain. Well, the only way that, the only way that these, whether it's Purdue chicken or poet ethanol 13:22 or whatever, the only reason any of that extra money gets kicked back to a farmer like Temple is because they, they will not pay it unnecessarily. 13:30 They'll, they'll, as long as they're still getting their tax credit, they're only gonna do it if, if they have a supply, 13:35 they're only gonna do it to guarantee the supply of the raw product. Well, to, to agree that's true. 13:42 But listen to what the ethanol guy said at that farm, at that meeting that I was at. Yeah. He said, we will double our profits 13:49 and we will split those profits with you, Mr. And Mrs. Farmer. But we are limited in how much good CI corn we can get. 13:56 Yeah. And so we need to get behind this. Now, if they got two times more CI corn than they need, hey, it's supply and demand. Uh, 14:03 But yeah, then, then, then they don't, then they, then they don't put any premium on it. Um, all right. 14:08 So somebody, and I feel bad, Dave's over here, you know, he's just been sitting and 14:12 listening, you know, he and all that. Um, I want get to soil health. I really do. But the problem is, we, we need more on the, the CI thing. 14:20 Well, if I could just, if I could just chime in. 'cause as you go down the path of CI and it looks like there's going 14:26 to be money over the next three years, it's like exercising and dieting. Do you ever regret it after doing it for a couple years? 14:34 When you feel better and you're healthier, that's what you're gonna do for your ground. Your ground's gonna work better for you. 14:40 You're gonna spend less on inputs, you're gonna have better output, and the value of your property actually will increase. 14:46 So what, that's the worst thing that happens. Yeah. The worst thing that happens, the worst thing that happens is you improve your real asset, uh, 14:53 the ground under your feet, which, uh, as farmers we're programmed to, we we're supposed to care about this and legacy and everything else. 14:59 So, um, yeah, doing the things reduction of nitrogen, uh, in, you know, increasing carbon and, and, 15:05 and all that, is that immediate enough temple? Is that immediate enough? It is for you? I'm not sure if the average farmer cares 15:15 is not immediate enough for the average farmer to care. That's why I think there has to be the economic Incentive. Well, I, 15:20 I, I think that, I think that's wrong because, um, you know, we have to realize that, you know, is the organic world when and know, um, 15:31 but we need to validate what we're doing. A CI score is putting a number on the carbon footprint that we're, that we're placing on the environment. 15:44 That's what the CI score is. And for every person, if you go, you know, of course you know, I'm gonna bring up 15:50 regenerative root solutions. So if you go to regenerative root solutions and you look them up, you get online, you can do, 15:58 you can get on there, get a CI score, go on there and just take a look. It's going to take you a few minutes 16:04 to get your mind wrapped around it. But as far as once you get your mind wrapped around what happens in the CI score, a guy that is somewhere 16:12 that has, you know, he plows all of his acres, doesn't plant Ava crops, doesn't do this, doesn't do that. There's still something in there 16:21 that he might be able to do. Okay. So his average score is 29.1. It's the same as every American farmer. 16:28 'cause he's working ground, he's doing this, he's doing that. Okay. So maybe he might adopt a, a principle 16:33 of strip till checks, a box he'll adopt, you know, um, going out there and spoon feeding nitrogen, check a box. And all of these things are going 16:42 to equate to money for him. But in the long run, it's not about the money, it's about the sole health. 16:49 And it's all these, you know, what does Kelly say all the time? He's watching, you know, these two sustain, uh, 16:55 a regenerative path and then a high yield path, and he's watching them converge and they are a hundred percent converging. 17:03 It's all because of soil health. It's coming. We're, it's, it's what are we leaving our footprint on the legacy that's coming? 17:12 Like, you know, what are we doing? Like, are we gonna teach our, the next generation to do the right thing so they're doing a better 17:19 job than what we are? Because that necessarily hasn't been taught to, you know, my generations prior to me. 17:28 Well, uh, first no-till planting, uh, began about, uh, the early eighties, mid eighties. And here we are to year 20, 24. And I still drive. 17:38 I just drove for, I I just drove through the, uh, the, the Midwest and the Dakotas and the Minnesota. And I, I don't think I saw past a field 17:45 that hadn't been fall plowed. So there's still, there's still a lot of room for improvement out here, frankly, from, uh, people 17:52 that can talk about wanting to pass something on better than they got it. Well, they're not doing it. 17:57 Um, the carbon intensity scoring thing do, do I get verified? I mean, is like, you compare it to organic, well, 18:08 organic farms are allegedly have, uh, auditors that come and, you know, spot check them, et cetera. 18:14 Is this gonna happen on the carbon intensity? How do I prove that I've got a low carbon bushel of corn? You might know Brian, uh, Barrett, do you know? 18:23 I don't know. I Mean, it, it is gonna be documented. It's gonna be certified. Um, and there's gonna be, there's gonna be bodies 18:33 that are gonna approve this. How much investigation to do in your actual farm? I'm not a hundred percent certain. Go ahead Temple. 18:41 Um, yeah, it is like when I did my carbon intensity school work, you had to supply, uh, you know, you have to do a little bit 18:50 of due diligence here. I mean, you have to supply your records. There's things that you gotta do and it all gets certified. 18:57 But at the end of the day, when you get involved with, once you get involved with this, and the part of this, like let's talk 19:03 about regenerative reach. So, you know, signing up with signing up your acres with somebody like them to help you handle some 19:10 of this, that's the problem. We don't have somebody in the marketplace to help us handle this. 19:16 We know what we need to do, but we don't have somebody. So there's a third person in here that's gonna help us, direct us to get us down the right path. 19:25 And that's what's so important about, you know, um, the operation center at John Deere. You know, that's really, really important that we are able 19:34 to do that because we're gonna give those people at regenerative roots. We're gonna give them my username, my password, um, 19:42 and then it's gonna be all documented. It's very, very easy for us. Plug and play. So I did a program last year 19:50 and I did it, um, with these guys. And guess what, you know what I gave them? This is the extent of what I gave them. 19:57 Uh, my username is this and my password is this. And then by the time I was all said and done, they downloaded all my stuff 20:04 and it made it very, very easy. I signed a contract and boom, I got some money. So this is what, so this is what's important. 20:11 You gotta have that other piece in there to help you get certified, to help you take it to another level. 20:16 What's your carbon? So Kelly, what's your Carbon intensity score? So I was really hoping to beat Kelly Garrett. 20:24 I, I, to be honest with you, I thought, you know what? If anybody can beat him at this, it's gotta be me. I'm into Del Morva. 20:30 We've been doing this whole Chesapeake Bay thing forever. Like I've been saving the bay 20:35 and hugging trees for a while around here. Right. You're just a regular Green. You're a regular 20:40 green piece guy, man. I'm telling you. Right? Exactly. Exactly. So I go in there and I get mine done, 20:46 and I am a positive three. Being a zero, you would have no impact on the environment. I'm a positive three. Kelly's a negative six. 20:56 I'm like, are you kidding me right now? So we even compete on that. So Kelly is a negative six, I'm a positive three. 21:03 The average American farmer is a 29.1. Alright? And by the way, every, every cre every um, movement that you make, um, 1.1, uh, movement on 21:16 that CI score should generate you 5.40 cents in, in potential tax credits. And as 45 Z. That's what they're speculating. 21:24 Every 1.1 deduct in your CI score. Yeah. Equate to And a half cents of Tax credit. Yeah. 21:34 Okay. So, um, so there's temple. He just took 26 off of whatever well is against your yourself or against the average. 21:42 Against average. It's against the average. Okay. So, and that's 5.40 cents tax credit per bushel, right? Yeah. 21:49 Yeah. So, so temple's got 26, uh, 26 points, right? I'm just gonna put, get my, my, my calculator here. 26 points is what temple did times 0.054. 22:01 So you said, yeah. All right, so it's a dollar 40, But, but this is all, this is all theoretical according 22:10 to Yeah. Where this is gonna go. Well, since I want to explain it to the listeners temple, and I wanna make sure it bears on this. 22:16 So that means that's a dollar 40 of tax credit. If the 45 Z is indeed enacted and, and through the federal, uh, 22:25 I, uh, who the hell is it? The treasury department. Okay. So whoever's doing it, that means 22:30 that the ethanol plant would, in theory for a bushel of temple's corn, if he had an ethanol plant by him, they would get a dollar 40 of tax credit. 22:38 And they're saying, we'll throw half that back at the farmer. That'd be 70 cents per bushel. 22:45 That seems too, you know, what they taught me when I was a kid, if it sounds too good to be true, uh, everybody, David, you are laughing. 22:51 If it sounds too good to be true, 70 cents a bushel. Uh, I'm not, I'm not sure. It sounds a little too good to be true, 22:59 But, but that's what it is. And, uh, will it be the same going forward after three years? 23:07 Uh, who knows. But for now, this looks pretty real. That's my gosh. Who, who wouldn't want 70 cents a bushel more? 23:15 Bear your guy. Even if it was only 20% True. Hey, I still take it. Hey, this guy, I just wanna ask you, because I I, I, not 23:24 because I'm a skeptic, it's just, it's not because I'm a negative Nancy, I just, uh, it just sounds too good to be true Barrett. 23:31 Yeah. I mean, look, you're, not only is it too good to be true, but there's also a cracker jack prize inside this box, which is healthier soil 23:39 and more productive land. So you're getting paid a higher value on your bushel per acre, 23:45 and you're gonna be making more money per acre doing it. And, and, and look, we've in, 23:50 in commodities, we have an export problem. You know, a lot of our exports are gonna South America and where the, where's the new market gonna be 23:57 to give us more demand in, in corn and soy? Well, it's, we've gotta create a market and it's gonna come from sustainable jet fuel, 24:05 sustainable jet fuel. They want half of the jet fuel to be sustainable. And the only way to get sustainable jet fuel is 24:10 to have commodities that produce the jet fuel that have a good CI score and, and qualify for all this. Yeah. So, 24:18 Yeah, I, I agree. There's a lot of optimism around, around sustainable aviation fuel. Okay? The one thing that I said was a little bit too, um, 24:25 farfetched 'cause soil health, carbon intensity, and then your bottom line. I said it, it's not immediate enough. 24:30 I wasn't in any way bashing, but when I see, when I see throughout Minnesota that, uh, fall till is happening 24:36 and they're letting that beautiful prairie soil blow away in the wind, it tells me that, um, that, that there's not 24:44 that then telling them, oh, make all these changes. Use cover crops, reduce tillers, do all these things, and then the farm ground 24:51 that your grandkids inherit will be better. I just don't think that's immediate enough for a lot of wide scale adoption. 24:59 But I'm all about it. I, I like the idea of leaving the soil better than we got it. So David, you tell me is, is there, 25:08 am I be, am I being too harsh saying that it's not immediate enough and it won't actually influence behavior? 25:14 So I, I think the people can see with some changes a return year one. But what you just said though, 25:23 'cause I hear a lot from guys, 'cause you know, we've been told you've got a no-till a reducer tillage. 25:28 Mm-Hmm. You've gotta do cover crops, dial back your fertilizer input. There's a lot of risk. And in places where harvest 25:34 and winter are on top of each other, that's really hard. Um, because you need microbial activity 25:42 to help get the cover crop out of the ground and established. Yep. And microbial activity is the only thing 25:47 that breaks down the cover crop. Yep. And if that doesn't happen, what happens in the spring when the sun comes out, 25:53 you've got too much stuff on top of the ground, it doesn't warm fast enough. So now you're planting something that's shorter day, uh, 26:00 it doesn't warm evenly, so you get uneven emergence. So guys say, forget it, I'm gonna till it in. Biology can help. 26:08 So again, if we put the biology back on the soil and make that soil healthier, it helps enable one to do no-till they can get the cover crop out of the ground. 26:17 You can enable one to do cover cropping. And, uh, so yeah, it's more challenging where the seasons are shorter, but can still be done. 26:26 'cause we, we know people that are doing it, and so it pays year one. How about bottom line? 26:33 So, uh, when we said, okay, you, you're gonna, presumably for the, the ethanol plant 26:39 that's making sustainable aviation fuel or the, this renewable diesel plant, whatever, it's Purdue chicken, I, I don't, whatever the place is, um, 26:47 they're gonna pass along some of this. And then also there's the improvement of the asset. Um, I think it takes, it takes a little bit 26:55 of a adjustment curve to, for the improvement of the asset. But can you tell me, can you show me 27:03 that my soil is better after just two years of doing this? Again, is it immediate enough 27:08 that you can show me a result in two years? We can, and again, we don't wanna do any kind of commercial or anything, so we're not going there. 27:14 But we, you know, I've seen, uh, thousands of soil samples and different geographies where we can measure 27:22 after three to four weeks improvements in nutrient release, decrease in bulk density, uh, better water infiltration. 27:31 Those are all things everybody understands because, you know, one of the hardest things we want to do is we, if you look at carbon intensity score is 27:41 back off fertilizer. Yeah. And, you know, nitrogen and phosphorus in particular are really energy expensive. Um, so that's a big part you avoid as part of the, 27:52 the bucket and then do better, you know, in terms of yield with the other part. So we want people to avoid it, 27:58 but I get it, prices are down. You've got a winning formula that you've used on the farm for years. 28:05 Why would I take risk? Well, and I, I get it, um, if I were there. So, um, you're gonna take some risk, do it in bites. 28:15 It's palatable because you actually can do better. And at the end of the day, you're gonna be happy with the result. 28:22 But work with people in your area that know how to make cover crops work, that know how to manage residue, uh, that know how to dial back the fertilizer. 28:30 Don't just know with the 1.2 units of nitrogen per of corn, that's way too much. 28:38 Uh, because what have we been doing forever? We love the farmers in North America love corn. And the only way you can keep that, 28:47 that yield monitor just ringing like a damn, uh, uh, like, like a slot machine is pour the nitrogen to it. 28:54 That's not true. But anyway, that's what's always been done historically. Yeah. Um, hey, you hung out with Barrett a couple weeks ago, 29:01 temple, and that's when this whole topic came up, and that's when we got this, uh, set to record. Um, do you need something that his company makes to 29:09 bring all this soil health and carbon and lowering carbon intensity? Is there, is there, is there a way to practices? 29:16 Yes, but what products do I need? What types of products do I need to make this all work? Or do I, is it just practices? Is it just split till, I 29:25 Mean, no, it's, it's there, there's products, but keep in mind, you know, we're in an environment here where we do need to save money. 29:36 We need to figure out where we're gonna cut at. Um, in my environment, we had to figure out how to use fertility, right? 29:44 Because we only get a certain amount of it. So a product like what they have that's adding, you know, biology to the soil and creating different things 29:53 and being able to break down residue, it makes for better soil health, right? So if I can break down my fodder 30:02 after my combine runs across the field, you know, corn fodder, for instance, and I can get it back into the soil, not tilling it, 30:09 but get it back into the soil and break it down, my CECs change, my organic matter changes, all 30:15 of a sudden my chemistry works better, my fertility that I'm putting out is better, better utilized. All of these things change when your soul health changes. 30:26 And then we're in a cover crop and rich environment. We have a lot, a lot of, I mean, tons and tons and tons of cover crop. 30:32 Now I need to figure out how to break that down. Yep. You know, everything that it pulled up, I need to re-release it as quickly as I can 30:39 to get it back into the plant. Because years ago we would just terminate our cover crop and you would plant no till in it, 30:46 and you would swear like, my crops don't look good. It's just, I'm all that nutrients that I sucked up. I'm not getting it back into the soil. 30:55 These products that they have help get it back into my soil for that next crop. And it is making a difference. 31:02 Like, I, I, you know, Damon, you and I talked a while ago about soil samples and stuff. I've got soil samples dating like 20 some years ago. 31:11 And from, you know, 20 years ago, up until, you know, 16 years ago, I didn't see any move. And it was always cover crop. 31:20 I never saw any move in my organic matter. No move in my CECs nothing. Well, when we start utilizing things like this, now all 31:28 of a sudden in the past four or five years, we're seeing a move in our CECs, a move in our organic matter. 31:35 Our soil health is changing, and they're right. This is, this is the thing that's gonna start to move the needle. 31:42 The problem is, is you're right, Damien, sometimes things aren't immediate. This is something that we need to consider. 31:50 You know, it could possibly be a longer term play. Some souls are gonna react very differently. Maybe it's a long term play in my soul. 32:00 Maybe it's not like, I don't know all those things yet. But breaking down residue is a huge component to this Barrett. Um, 32:11 we talk about where this goes. There is a, there is a carrot. There is, there is, there is gonna be the financial 32:18 incentive to do some of these things. Uh, I think a lot of it is practices. Uh, I think some of it's products, 32:25 and we don't need to get into all that, but you know, like temple's talking about, we got rather than, rather than a plow 32:32 or rather than fall tillage, we use products to get the cycle going. I think that there's some products 32:39 and some, uh, that go along with the practice changes. I think the biggest adjustment is gonna be between the ears of the operators because this is kind of, um, 32:49 this stuff we've been doing for a long time. But now there's, there's there's more reason to be doing so. Yeah. Look, we are in a massive, you know, 32:59 disruptive economy in agriculture. It's happening right in front of us. It's things are changing fast 33:06 and they're changing faster than they, it's not just the fact that we're having changed, but it's the fact that the, the velocity 33:11 of change, it's happening so much faster. It's ever happened before. I think everybody can see it and feel it. 33:16 Um, and here's the deal. This technology is going to help us be more productive farmers using less inputs and making more money. 33:25 If we can find the right technology, test it, prove it works, understand it and utilize it. If we don't use this new technology, then the change, 33:36 you know, outside of our farm will be greater than the change inside of our farm. And at some point, you, you, 33:41 you're not gonna be a relevant farmer. So, so this technology is here today and, and it's like a chicken and egg Damian, when you talk about, 33:48 you know, it used to, you know, we, we think it takes us so long to get paid back on this. 33:52 The old way of thinking was, Hey look, just do, do no-till do cover crop. And over time you're gonna see the life in your soil 33:59 improve and, and it'll pay off. It might take three to five years. We're we want to flip that, that, that equation around 34:05 and say, no, let's build life in the soil today. Yep. And that will help us move towards less tillage, whether it's minimum till strip till or no-till. 34:16 And then we can start looking at cover crops and using 'em more efficiently, but build a life first, not change the practice and wait for the life to catch up. 34:22 And if we do that, then we shortcut the whole system. We get paid quicker. And, and what's interesting is, you know, this Yeah. 34:32 You said there's a, like a revolutionist, very exciting time right now, CI scores, all this kind of stuff. 34:37 But a lot of the stuff is kind of stuff that we've known for a while. Temple. That's the thing. 34:41 I mean, you've got cattle, you know, the traditional farm, the tr the conventional traditional farm of 100 34:48 of yesteryear had cattle, uh, used different crops, you know, did, did did some of it's going back to stuff we, we intrinsically know, but we kind of stopped doing. 35:01 Yeah. I mean, you know, think about, think about a long, long time even way back when my dad was farming, um, 35:09 when he was young, you know, they would split a farm up into, um, five fields. You know, they'd spread manure on the field 35:17 and every year they would, you know, there's a thing that they would, they would leave a field's fallow and they'd spread manure on it. 35:24 What were they doing? They were adding biology to the ground. Yeah. Organic biology to the ground. 35:31 And they were letting the biology grow. And then they would go out there and they'd plant a crop in it next year. 35:35 And for some reason, magically that fallow ground was better than, you know, all the other grounds that was in 35:44 a continuous rotation of crops. Well, they always believed that they needed to have a little rest period. 35:49 Well, what do you think that was happening? They were building biology in their soul. Yeah. And were back to that. Yeah. 35:56 Here's the other important thing. You know, you don't want to happen what happened to us in the Chesapeake Bay where they mandate you 36:05 to do the right thing. Yeah. This is farmers trying to be proactive and trying to go outside of the box of thinking 36:14 that we're gonna do the right things before they mandate us to do, to do what we need to do. Like I said, I've said it a million times that first five 36:23 or eight years, sometimes 10 years, when we first got put into this nutrient management plan, man, you better figure out how a way to reinvent yourself 36:32 because it was tough to farm then. And it's not that it's any easier, but I would say you might wanna get your head wrapped 36:41 around getting into a program and start to think like this because it's coming. 36:48 The government, you know, how many times have you teased us about this? Damien? Oh, I, you know, 36:53 I heard you got another government payout. You got the government money for this, you got gov that's going to end. 37:00 And programs like this, um, you know, with the CI score and all, that's what's going to end everything else. And it's okay. Nobody, I mean, it, 37:09 it's just another way to capitalize. So the, we don't wanna farm with the government. We don't, you know, but if we can do it 37:17 and do all the right thing and still get incentivized, I mean, you're getting incentivized to do the right thing. 37:24 That nutrient management plan that we had, we weren't incentivized to do anything. It was good luck. 37:30 Yeah, yeah. You, you, there is incentive now to do what, and I, I think that everyone, 37:37 the extreme ag type follower is progressive forward thinking, realizes all the reasons to do this. 37:44 I think there's people that are gonna sit in their hands and not want to adopt 37:47 because they haven't adopted anything new in, in quite some time. Alright, get me outta here, David and Barrett. 37:53 What, um, what do I need to know? I think soil health, carbon intensity in your bottom line. What's interesting is they all connect. 38:00 They, I mean they, the dots all three connect. Um, and it's just, I, my concern is, is there are enough immediate return on 38:07 doing some of these practices. Um, you know, you guys are in a, you're a new player. Uh, this is different. 38:13 You talked about all the changes coming on Barrett, the kind of products we're talking about a product 38:18 to break down fodder. You know, that wasn't something that, it's, it's an exciting time. 38:22 Um, do we get there? Is this, is this going to take hold? This, this is, this is real. This is taking hold now. 38:29 Um, and it, and it is because, because some of the reasons you said Damon, it like this, this just makes sense. 38:35 This is what we used to do. I can tell you that when I sit down with, with farmers that are multi-generation 38:40 and they're still running the farm, let's say you got the, the, uh, the old timer there that's, uh, you know, 38:45 maybe he's late seventies and, and, uh, he is got his kids running the farm and he still wants to be part of the decisions. 38:51 When you start talking to him about building life back in your soil and making it more productive at a, at a microbial level, 38:58 and you start talking to him about the fence line and how, you know, how we want to put that into the main part of the field. 39:03 And he, he's the one that says, I get it. 'cause he remembers, he remembers what the soil used to be like. 39:09 And he'll actually tell the boys, the boys will wanna do a test and he'll tell the boys, now it's time to go. 39:15 This is where we want to be. And it's, and when I get that conversation, I love it because it ties it all together. 39:20 Yeah. This just makes sense. Putting life back into your soil. There's, there's no, it will pay for it this year. 39:26 And it's a, I like to say soil house, a flywheel effect. So the more energy putting that flywheel of soil health, 39:31 the more it's gonna generate, the more RPMs we're gonna get, the better it's gonna get. 39:35 So year two is better than year one. Year three is better than year two, but year one, if you do it right, we'll pay for it. 39:41 Uh, first year. Put money in your pocket. David, closing comments since I didn't let you talk for the first 10 minutes this recording, 39:46 I'm gonna let you talk for the last minute. Oh no, that's fine. Uh, just to emphasize what Barrett is saying. 39:54 So in, in my career, look in, in the 1980s when I did my, my doctorate and I learned about the human immune system, 40:03 it was all about white blood cells and antibodies. What do we know today? It's the biology that's in and on us is a massive part of our immune system. 40:13 Um, when I spent all my years in Big Ag, we did not ever think about the biology in the soil. Nope. We thought soil health frankly was no-till and Roundup 40:22 and Roundup ready probably played my cards there where I came from. Yeah. It's should be no surprise to anyone. 40:31 It's actually the biology in the soil that makes the soil work. So you, most farmers have, 40:37 when I look at their soil tests have so many nutrients they've paid money for through the years that are sitting there. 40:44 Mm-Hmm. The plant root will never access 'em, right? But the microbes do. And there's a saying that I like, there's a farm 40:52 underneath your feet. Plants are farming the microbes because the microbes mine the soil. And that's what makes it all work. 41:01 So get on the flywheel that's not broken and take palatable bites. Talk to people that have been successful in your area. 41:11 'cause there you all know what works in Indiana may not work in Minnesota or or Maryland. 41:16 Um, but there is a path forward and, and it, you'll be so glad you do. Uh, I like it. And you know what I've decided 41:25 because I like talking to you guys. We're gonna do another one of these at least, and we're gonna just be soil health 41:31 and it's gonna be about soil health and they can go down the other directions, whatever it is. But I like this whole thing. I really do. 41:37 As Temple knows, I was ninth in the nation in FFA soil judging back in 1987. I was gonna become an agronomist, 41:43 but it was just too much science. So anyway, uh, and yes, in case, in case you're listening to this and you're saying, oh, 41:50 I think I've heard this before, of course. 'cause I tell the Extre ag guys all the time and, uh, to a point it's become kind of a joke. 41:56 But yes. Um, his name's Barrett IC Company's named Hogans. He's joined by David Stark works 42:05 for Hogans and Temple Roads. If they wanna find out more about the products and the company and the stuff that you're doing 42:10 to help farmers on their Soil health initiative, where do they go? Barrett? It's good. Our website at 42:17 www.gansholganix.com. Organics.com is the company. So next time, that's Temple Roads. Thanks for being here buddy. 42:29 Thank You. Thanks buddy. Appreciate it. Appreciate it. Till next time. Thanks for being here. If you want to take your learning to the next level, 42:36 remember you can become an extreme Ag member for just seven $50 a year. You get access to the guys on a question answer platform. 42:41 You get invited to our field days. You get sometimes special promotions like to go to Commodity Classic for free. 42:47 And more importantly, you get the trial results from the end of the year. All the stuff that these guys do on their farms, 42:51 they'll give you all the numbers. It's worth it. Seven $50, take your learning to the next level. 42:55 Become an extreme Ag member. But you don't have to be a member to watch hundreds of episodes just like this. 43:00 Literally, I've been with these guys for almost three years. I've been recorded hundreds of videos 43:03 of podcasts just like this. Plus the videos these guys shoot in the fields or at their field days. 43:08 One of the best videos we ever put together was done in Iowa with the Ganis guys 43:12 and they were out there with measuring devices. I said, all you people keep talking about how this stuff works. 43:18 Show me. And by God, their guy did. And we actually broke it down. They had, uh, had like all these 43:22 instruments on the back of the tailgates. Really good stuff. You can find all that at Extreme Ag Farm, extreme Ag Farm, hundreds of videos 43:28 and podcasts just like this. So next time, thanks for being here. My name is Damian Mason. This is 43:32 extreme ag cutting the curve. That's a wrap for this episode of Cutting the Curve. Make sure to check out Extreme Ag Farm 43:38 for more great content to help you squeeze more profit out of your farming operation. 43:43 Cutting the curve is brought to you by cloth where machines aren't just made, they're made For more. Visit cloth.com 43:51 and start cutting your curve with cutting edge equipment.

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