Why is it important and what does it mean?
The Switch Year in Nori terminology is the year in which a regenerative practice was adopted on a given field within a Nori project. The switch year must have occurred on or after 2010 to be eligible for enrollment in the Nori program. This switch is used to create the point in time from which the project “baseline” is established.
The adoption of regenerative practices is not a one and done switch - Nori accepts the addition of stacked regenerative practices to establish a Switch Year and this switch does not have to be the first regenerative practice a farmer adopts. But, to qualify for the Nori pilot, the farmer must have implemented a new regenerative agriculture practice no earlier than 2010. For example, if a farmer has been implementing no-till on his fields since 2000 and has adopted no other regenerative practices these fields would not qualify for the Nori pilot. However, if a farmer has implemented no-till in 2000 and then begins cover cropping in 2011, the Switch Year is 2011 and the regenerative agriculture practice from which the incremental soil organic carbon is modeled is cover cropping.
Switch Year is important because it is used to determine the incremental carbon stock change between historical practices and regenerative practices. In the Nori methodology, data on historic practices are collected and modeled to create a trend line projecting the amount of carbon that would have been stored in the soil under these historical agricultural practices. Data on regenerative practices is also collected to model a trend line of the soil organic carbon stored due to the regenerative practice (Figure 1). The difference between these lines is the incremental carbon stock change that is quantified into a NRT (Figure 2). The Switch Year is the point in time where the historical and regenerative practice lines diverge and this year necessary for modeling the necessary trend lines to calculate incremental carbon stock changes and quantify NRTs.
Figure 1. The above graphic portrays the modelling of soil organic carbon (SOC) storage due to old practices (green bars) and new practices (gold bars) based on the Switch year in 2014.
Figure 2. Based on the Switch year of 2014, NRTs are issued as the difference between SOC drawn down due to modeled old vs new practices (blue bars).