Cargill launches new regenerative ag program that pays farmers for improved soil health
Cargill has begun enrolling farmers in Cargill RegenConnectTM, a new regenerative ag program that pays farmers for improved soil health and positive environmental outcomes, including payment per metric ton of carbon sequestered.
The program connects farmers to the growing carbon marketplace and will help scale the voluntary adoption of regenerative agriculture practices.
This program is born out of a commitment Cargill made one year ago to advance regenerative agriculture practices across 10 million acres of land in North America by 2030. Cargill recognizes that many management practices can not only improve soil health but also open new revenue streams for farmers.
“Agriculture has a unique opportunity to utilize voluntary carbon markets and regenerative ag to address the global climate challenge and better the economic prospects for farmers, who really are the heroes of our food system,” Ben Fargher, vice president of sustainability in Cargill’s North American agricultural supply chain says. “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. We are actively working hand-in-hand with farmers to lead the way, supporting them with tools, resources – and most importantly, market access – to make the shift to regenerative agriculture.”
Farmers enrolled in the program will implement regenerative agriculture practices of their choosing beginning this fall into the next planting season. Practices that will qualify include cover crops and reduced- or no-tillage.
Cargill is partnering with carbon measurement firm Regrow to make it easy for farmers to measure, report and verify (MRV) carbon outcomes using in-field data, remote sensing, and crop and soil health modeling. The Regrow MRV platform ensures enrollment, secure data collection, and provides transparent measurement and verification options for farmers.
“Growers have told us they are looking for sustainability programs that offer simplicity, transparency, and flexibility to suit their specific operation. We’ve taken this feedback and designed our program, RegenConnect, to address these needs and it has been very well received,” Fargher says.
Farmers Find Profitability in Soil and Carbon Markets
Every day, Cargill helps farmers increase their productivity and profitability by promoting sustainable, innovative agricultural practices, providing inclusive market access, and building resilient agricultural communities. The RegenConnectTM program furthers this role by connecting farmers to Cargill’s downstream customers, who are counting on agricultural supply chains to achieve their carbon reduction goals.
“Farmers are working hard right now to navigate through incredibly disruptive global market conditions,” Fargher adds. “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.”
In a study of 100 farmers across nine states conducted by The Soil Health Institute and supported by Cargill, researchers found that soil health management systems increased incomes for 85% of farmers growing corn and 88% of farmers growing soybeans. 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.
Cargill has been advancing sustainable agriculture for more than a decade, investing in partnerships to enable farmer profitability through regenerative soil health practices. In the U.S., Cargill has also supported ecosystem service markets like the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund and Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, which provide new opportunities for farmers to get paid for sustainable agriculture practices.
In addition, Cargill is connecting farmers with FarmRaise, a financial technology platform that efficiently connects farmers with capital to optimize their financial and ecological performance. Their newly launched Eqip application shortens the lengthy application to a simple 15-minute process.