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Indigo Ag acquires Soil Metrics to boost carbon MRV capabilities

October 26, 2021

Indigo Ag has acquired Soil Metrics, a firm which carries out assessments of soil carbon sequestration, for an undisclosed sum.

The pair had already partnered on the acquirer’s Carbon by Indigo program, which works with farmers to generate revenue from their soil carbon sequestration activities through measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) selling offsets.

Fort Collins, Colorado-based Soil Metrics describes itself as a “team of data scientists and climate change wonks who […] measure and model soil carbon data to shed light on land usage and associated greenhouse gas emissions.”

In a statement, Boston-based Indigo said that the acquisition will “further enhance and scale the premier carbon MRV system powering its industry-leading carbon farming program.”

Soil Metrics was spun-out of Colorado State University in 2019 to commercialize “biogeochemical” soil modeling techniques developed by professor Keith Paustian and his team. These models allow enterprises to “translate beneficial on-farm practices into financial instruments, like traceable sustainability premiums and verified ecosystem credits, for rewarding and promoting farmers’ participation in climate-smart opportunities,” according to Indigo.

The deal will see Paustian join Indigo in an advisory role. In addition, the  two companies said they’ll work towards “optimized” production of “registry-issued agricultural carbon credits or low carbon commodities;” increase their collaborations with scientific and research institutions; and spend $1 million on educating the general public about the workings and potential benefits of soil carbon sequestration.

“Soil Metrics is world-class at modeling all the essential elements we think of when we consider what it would look like for agriculture to achieve meaningful environmental outcomes and deliver new value to farmers,” said Indigo’s global head of carbon, Chris Harbourt.

“We share a rich heritage of scientific excellence and industry collaboration and look forward to continued development of solutions that meet the highest benchmarks for quality while maintaining the choice and flexibility necessary to support every farmer, on every field.”

The acquisition of Soil Metrics is the latest in a string of moves which has seen Indigo — which launched in 2014 as a startup developing biological seed treatments — move increasingly into the growing carbon trading space. In recent months, it announced carbon-related partnerships with US farmer co-op Growmark and ag inputs giant Corteva.

This followed its unveiling of a raft of corporate buyers of its carbon credits in February, including Maple Leaf Foods and Epiphany Craft Malt; as well as carbon tie-ups with Cool Effect and North Face. In October 2020, Indigo named BarclaysJPMorgan ChaseShopifyIBM, and Boston Consulting Group as being among the first corporate purchasers of carbon credits generated by its farmers.

Indigo’s last publicly-announced fundraising was its Series F round last year, when it secured $560 million from Alaska Permanent Fund, its founding investor Flagship Pioneering, and lenders including FedEx, among others.

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