Today, Indigo Ag announced a list of 36 innovations poised to advance the goal of drawing down of one trillion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide in agricultural soils. The cohort, which answered The Terraton Challenge’s global call for solutions to accelerate carbon sequestration, represents industry-leading efforts to optimize the impact of regenerative agricultural practices.
“Agriculture represents the most scalable, affordable, and immediate method available to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,” said Geoff von Maltzahn, Indigo’s Chief Innovation Officer. “By accelerating advancements in scientific discovery and technological innovation, The Terraton Initiative seeks to optimize the potential of this natural climate solution and build a more beneficial, sustainable, and resilient food system in the process.”
The Terraton Challenge presents a path for innovators and entrepreneurs to pilot and deploy technologies that accelerate soil carbon sequestration, methods to quantify soil carbon, and financial offerings that reward growers for capturing and maintaining soil carbon. Nearly 300 trailblazing projects representing 44 countries and various industries applied for the opportunity in its inaugural year, submitting a wide range of original ideas including proposed advancements in food waste reduction, robotics and drone technology, finance and microbial science.
“The global innovation ecosystem hasn’t been sufficiently exposed to the opportunity for technological advancement that soil carbon sequestration and agricultural emissions reduction present to mitigate climate change,” said Dan Harburg, Senior Director of Systems Innovation at Indigo. “The Terraton Challenge was born out of our desire to galvanize entrepreneurs around the world to dramatically improve the sustainability and environmental impacts of agriculture.”
A panel of 25 judges representing thought leaders from academia, business, and agriculture vetted and selected the semifinalists, who will now advance to compete for up to $60,000 in grants. Select finalists with scalable solutions will be eligible for up to $3M in contracts. A full list of the semifinalist can be found online here.
For the next seven months, semifinalists will take part in a virtual incubation cohort with access to mentors, review panels, and expert speakers. Additionally, semifinalists with solutions suitable for in-field testing will have the opportunity to test their solutions in real world conditions through Indigo’s network of grower partners.
“As a farmer, I want to make sure the ideas are practical and scale-able, things real farmers will do on real farms,” said Ben Riensche, a judge and mentor in The Terraton Challenge who will pilot proposed solutions on part of his 18,000 acre farm in Iowa. “Academics have great ideas, scientists have great know-how, and farmers can make these ideas actionable.”
The incubation, experimentation, and refinement of contestants’ projects will culminate at Beneficial Ag 2020, where qualified semifinalists will have an opportunity to showcase live demonstrations of their proposed solutions. Hosted in Memphis, Tennessee in June 2020, the event gathers thousands of the most influential and innovative stakeholders from across the agricultural value chain—from growers, buyers, and investors to grain marketers, packaged goods companies, and scientists. Following the event, semifinalists will continue to refine their solutions until the Challenge’s completion in October 2020.
About Indigo Agriculture:
Indigo improves grower profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health through the use of natural microbiology and digital technologies. The company’s scientific discoveries and digital innovations create new value from soil to sale, benefiting tens of thousands of growers across millions of acres. Working across the supply chain, Indigo is furthering its mission of harnessing nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet. In 2019, Indigo established The Terraton Initiative, a global effort to drawdown one trillion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide through agricultural soils. Ranked #1 on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list, Indigo is headquartered in Boston, MA, with additional offices in Memphis, TN; Research Triangle Park, NC; Sydney, Australia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; São Paulo, Brazil; and Switzerland. For more information please visit IndigoAg.com, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
Allie Evarts, Indigo