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CarbonNOW Grower Spotlight: Scott Scheimer

CarbonNOW Grower Spotlight: Scott Scheimer
April 7, 2022

CarbonNOW® Grower Spotlight

Meet CarbonNOW Farmer Scott Scheimer

Scott grows a variety of row crops on 20,000 acres in Colorado. We sat down to talk more about his farm operations and his views on regenerative practices overall, and what made him decide to join the CarbonNOW carbon farming program.

Name: Scott Scheimer

Farm: Scheimer Farms

Location: Cheyenne Wells, CO

Farm Size: 20,000 acres

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

Tell us about your farming operation.

I own Scheimer Farms, which consists of about 20,000 acres of row and cereal crops in Cheyenne Wells, CO. This part of Colorado has an arid climate. I’m a high elevation farmer with little moisture and typically, highly variable weather conditions. We might average 11 inches of moisture per year, with big rain events followed by long dry spells. We also have very sandy soil. This is farming on the edge.

I’ve also developed Simple Farms, LLC, an agtech data program to help provide farmers with decision making tools for margin analysis. So many farmers have a difficult time being a good bookkeeper. Getting in the black is tough. Farming is a tight margin industry.

Which regenerative agriculture practices do you currently use?

I’m always making changes to be a better steward of the land. I attend conferences and confer with other farmers in my area. I have adopted all the regenerative farming practices which include a range of tillage and cover crops.

My philosophy has always been to listen to 100 other farmers, and to remain as diverse as possible. As farmers, we try to be a research group among ourselves.

What made you choose to participate in a carbon farming program?

I’ve been in and around the carbon market discussion for years. I’ve vetted and investigated more than five existing programs. I didn’t like the fact that other carbon programs demanded we had to integrate new regenerative farming practices in order to qualify. If we already were leading edge, we couldn’t participate. Locus AG’s soil health probiotics and CarbonNOW carbon farming program gave me eligibility.

What made you choose CarbonNOW over other carbon farming programs?

There are a couple of factors in addition to eligibility. One is that it’s very easy for the operator. We receive credit for carbon sequestering with a premium paid directly to us and we use Locus AG products on our seed. The Bluesource partnership with access to premium buyers is a key to the program. So many other carbon farming programs do not have a facilitator of the carbon credit exchange, and that is the demise of the program.

Tell us your thoughts on Locus AG’s soil health probiotics:

The soil probiotics are what turned me on to Locus AG. I really liked the fact that the carbon farming program is product-based, and that it looks at what the product does in the soil for microbes. I’ve already worked with other soil biological products. This looked like a perfect fit for our farm because it will integrate with our other regenerative practices without having to make big practice changes.

I’m going to try my own control, applying the Locus AG soil probiotics to strips of land and compare it to other manufacturers. We’re really shifting our input dollars, especially for phosphorus, and allocating it to the Locus AG Products.

What are you going to use the money from the CarbonNOW carbon farming payment for?

Operating expenses are ridiculous—fuel, fertilizer, chemical, seed, etc. The CarbonNOW payment is helping to cover those expenses. It’s taking some of the burden off.

What are your thoughts on the experience so far with CarbonNOW and the carbon farming process?

We’re all in the same boat when it comes to carbon markets. We’re all going through same learning curves. But the CarbonNOW team came through. They held up their end of the deal and their promise of payment came true.

How has that experience been different from other carbon farming programs?

The CarbonNOW program is very open on communication compared to other programs I looked into. There’s no surprises; what they say is what’s going to happen.

What are your future plans?

I believe market volatility is here to stay. I’ve been farming for 31 years, and this is quite a difference from what we were doing 20 years ago. I subscribe to two services that focus on our operation to help navigate that market volatility for advice on delivery points, transportation, etc. I wouldn’t have dreamed of that 20 years ago.

I tell my peers it is important to develop relationships with people who are experts in our field, like Locus AG, and trust their input. Any soil program has to be individualized. I farm very differently than other farmers even 100 miles east of me.

What would you tell farmers who are reluctant to enter a carbon farming program?

The market volatility can lead to analysis paralysis. I tell everyone, “you’re not going to learn the game or understand it until you get in”. Try it; even on 100 acres to gain an understanding of whether it fits in your operation. Change is always the biggest challenge.

Growers need to be aware that it’s better to stay in for the long term, not a short run. You get better results.

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