September 23, 2021

Food-to-agriculture giant Cargill is enrolling farmers into its RegenConnect programme that pays farmers for improved soil health and positive environmental outcomes, including payment per metric ton of carbon sequestered.

The project connects farmers to the growing carbon marketplace and will help scale the voluntary adoption of regenerative practices. A year ago, the company made a commitment to advance regenerative agriculture across 10 million acres of land in North America by 2030. This was in recognition that the move not only improves soil health but can also open up new revenue streams for farmers.

“Agriculture has a unique opportunity to utilise voluntary carbon markets and regenerative agriculture to address the global climate challenge and better the economic prospects for farmers,” said Ben Fargher, vice president of sustainability in Cargill’s North American agricultural supply chain.

Cargill Ben Fargher
Cargill’s Ben Fargher: “Anything we do together to reduce emissions should also improve farmers’ businesses.”

“Changes made at the roots of our supply chains will deliver the greatest impact in reducing emissions, delivering higher yields, improving water quality, sequestering carbon and building the resilience of our soils for the next generation,” he added.

Farmers enrolled in RegenConnect will implement practices of their choosing beginning this autumn into the next planting season. Practices that qualify include cover crops and reduced- or no-tillage.

Cargill has partnered with carbon measurement firm Regrow to make it easy for farmers to measure, report and verify carbon outcomes using in-field data, remote sensing and crop and soil health modelling. The Regrow platform ensures easy enrolment, secure data collection, and also gives farmers transparent measurement and verification options.

“Growers have told us they are looking for sustainability programmes that offer simplicity and flexibility to suit their operations. We’ve designed RegenConnect to address these needs and it has been very well received,” said Fargher.

Cargill-supported study shows benefits to farmers

The programme connects farmers to Cargill’s downstream customers who are counting on agricultural supply chains to achieve their carbon reduction goals. “Farmers are navigating through incredibly disruptive global market conditions. Profitability and positive environmental impacts can work together. We do not want to place a still heavier burden on their operations. Anything we do together to reduce emissions should also improve their businesses,” pointed out Fargher.

In a study of 100 farmers across nine states conducted by the Soil Health Institute and supported by Cargill, it was found that soil health management systems increased incomes for 85% of farmers growing corn and 88% of farmers growing soybeans.

The average income for corn growers increased by $52 per acre and $45 per acre for soybeans. Additionally, farmers reported reduced average costs to grow corn by $24 per acre, and soybeans by $17 per acre.

Another initiative Cargill supports is FarmRaise, a financial technology platform that connects farmers with capital to optimise their financial and ecological performance. FarmRaise’s newly launched app cuts lengthy application times down to less than 20 minutes.

For a useful guide to regenerative agriculture take a look at the film below from Groundswell.

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