This story was originally published by Yale Environment 360 and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Trey Hill led a small group of fellow farmers to a field outside his office in Rock Hall on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It was a cloudy February day, but the ground was alive with color — purple and red turnip tops mixing exuberantly with green rye, vetch, and clover, and beneath it all, rich brown soil. Hill reached down, yanked a long, thick, white daikon radish from the earth and showed his visitors sumptuous coffee-colored clods clinging to hairy rootlets. Those clumps, he explained, hoard carbon — carbon that’s not heating the planet.
Hill didn’t adopt “carbon-smart” practices like cover-cropping to fight climate change. He did it to build soil, retain water, and make money. But when the third-generation corn, wheat, and soybean farmer learned about Nori, a Seattle-based startup looking to sell credits for carbon stored in the soils of farms like his, he was all in. Hill didn’t necessarily expect a windfall, but he wanted to show fellow farmers they could make money while helping fight climate change. “If it works out and we make some mon... Read more