Is Your Farm Operation’s Carbon Intensity Score Tax Credit Eligible?


“Climate smart.” The new buzz word when it comes to carbon capture sequestration. Right now, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to lower carbon emissions. In the Inflation Reduction Act, there is money and tax credits tied to carbon offsetting, with specifics on carbon capture sequestration, producing of low carbon fuels, or the production of sustainable aviation fuels in sections 45Z, 45Q, and 40B, directly affecting grain farmers and owners of land where grain production takes place, informs local farmer and former Knox County Farm Bureau President Grant Strom. With a push to drill carbon sinks, or wells, in Illinois and North Dakota into rock formation to bury carbon pipelines, what does that mean for the everyday farmer in lowering carbon scores on ethanol and the importance of the corn industry?

“Really, the next path for demand of growing corn is going to be for sustainable aviation fuel and hopefully using ethanol as one of the main feedstocks to make alcohol to jet. To do that, to navigate the policy we have to have lower carbon scores. The easy button for that is sequestration to carbon at the point source of manufacturing of ethanol, but there are other ways to do that. Eventually once we have ruling from the Treasury and EPA, there is going to be rules and opportunities for farmers to change their farming practices to lower their carbon intensity scores and potentially earn tax credits via the ethanol plant by selling corn to the plant that is engaged in one of these projects.”

The average carbon intensity score of corn grown in the United States is about 29. Putting that into perspective locally, Strom says an ethanol plant like Big River Resources, their average carbon intensity score is in the 50 to 54 range and tax credits kick in below 50.

“Anything you can do to lower your carbon intensity score below a 29, potentially has opportunities and benefits to the ethanol plant, which would hopefully pass down to the farmer. The large practices that knock your carbon intensity score down, cover crops and no till and one and two, so the less tillage you do or install a cover crop program on your farm, those are going to be big. Fertilizer reduction, the use of synthetic fertilizers is a very significant one. There will be farms that have negative carbon intensity scores because they are utilizing manure.”

In a low-price environment, Strom encourages looking for opportunities to be more resourceful and researching these practices that could make your operation more profitable in the long run.

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