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CarbonNOW Grower Spotlight: Season Two Scott Scheimer

CarbonNOW Grower Spotlight: Season Two Scott Scheimer
August 11, 2023

CarbonNOW® Grower Spotlight

Catching Up with CarbonNOW farmer Scott Scheimer

Scott grows a variety of row and cereal crops on his 20,000-acre farm in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. He joined the CarbonNOW program in the spring of 2022. We caught up with him to hear how his experience with CarbonNOW is going after more than one year into the program.

Name: Scott Scheimer

Farm: Scheimer Farms

Location: Cheyenne Wells, CO

Farm Size: 20,000 acres

Crop Types: Corn, Millet, Sorghum, Soybeans, Wheat

How is the current growing season going for your farm?

You want to talk about a 180—we’ve gone three years with just tremendous drought. It has been horrible, even for us in this region. Year after year, drought on top of drought. We were looking pretty bleak until right at corn planting time this year. From that day on we’ve exceeded our annual rainfall—in just the past three and a half months. We got it in.

We’re “green as the gourd” and it’s just gorgeous here. We’re a couple of weeks out from wheat harvest and the corn and milo are all looking good. We’re pretty happy right now.

How long have you been in the CarbonNOW carbon farming program?

This is year two for us in the program.

How has your experience been so far in the CarbonNOW program?

So far so good. It’s fully understandable that when something is new and growing, everyone’s learning on both ends. We’ve been patient, and everything’s paid off. We even enrolled more of our acres. We’re definitely confident in the program and excited.

We’ve had to get educated on how we get our things in order, and we’ve passed that on to other customers that are signing up so we’re helping people from our experience and what we’ve learned.

How are the carbon farming payments helping your farm?

The first year we were so dry, so the payment was helpful for the financials of just getting through drought. This year we’re pushing our inputs and our fertility so the payments are definitely helping us on that end. It’s also allowed us to get more aggressive with our biologicals plan and evolve with the Locus AG products.

When you have a little extra money in the pocket it allows you to do a little more off-the-wall stuff and try new things. We’re pretty excited about what we’re putting out there and hopefully it will translate into some higher yields and net margins.

What are your thoughts on Locus AG’s biologicals?

Our soil has been hurting for biology because we’re so arid here. We’ve spent ages, decades, doing a fallow period with a one crop or maybe a dual crop rotation then back to a fallow period. It is difficult in this region to do a cover crop structure and build that up, because we don’t get the rainfall to both support that and a cash crop. I feel like this is supplemental.

Just like someone who doesn’t get all their vitamins and takes a supplement daily, I think our soil is the same way. Locus AG’s biologicals allow us to feed the soil and get ahead in that game. I feel like if we can get our rotations and good crops going, I’m very excited to see what we’re going to look like in the next three years—where we’ve gotten ourselves using biologicals, growing healthy crops and maybe help us survive the next dry period.

What results did you see in the field using Locus AG biologicals?

The biologicals are creating healthy soil, we know that. And the healthy soil is helping that plant hang on, even through the most extreme times. That plant is hanging on. It’s helped us hang on just long enough and the crop is showing it. Happy soil, happy plant.

What would you want to tell other farmers about using Locus AG biologicals or joining the CarbonNOW program?

I think it’s the avenue to go, I’ve said it from the beginning. Especially in our region. We’re a low-seed population and the biological products are based on seed count. We qualify for the carbon program using Locus AG’s biologicals, and the payment allows us to bring in more money than we’ve invested, even though we’re using the products. It’s a no brainer for my region. It’s something to try.

Make it a portion of your farm portfolio. We did the same and we liked it enough that we’re adding more acres. We still don’t have the entire farm in the program and we’re planning on adding the rest next year.

That’s my biggest advice for producers: at least give it a shot. Give it a try. Sign up some of the acres and see what it will do for you.

In your opinion, what is the most valuable benefit of the CarbonNOW carbon farming program?

For our region, signing up for the carbon program and qualifying. The payment covers the cost of the inputs, the Locus AG biological products. So it’s basically like allowing us to do a free trial of the biological products and see what I benefit from it.

What would you tell a farmer who seems reluctant to participate in a program like CarbonNOW?

Just give it a shot and sign up a few acres. Right now, the program is fairly easy to enter; but as carbon programs get more popular it will get more difficult to get in. I tell guys to get in so you understand the program. It will be your opportunity to get in the door.

Carbon credits are not going to go away, but I don’t know what they’ll be like in the next 5-6 years. Getting in now gives you the opportunity to understand them.

In terms of the farm, is there anything you’re looking forward to right now?

Wheat harvest is coming, and I’m very excited about that. The other thing is—my oldest son is looking to come home. You always want to pass on a legacy and it’s just exciting to have a family member that wants to take the farm to the next generation.

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