Cargill’s RegenConnect to pay farmers for soil health practices
Cargill has introduced a new revenue stream for farmers as part of its commitment to advance regenerative ag practices across 10 million acres in North America by 2030.
Ben Fargher is the managing director of sustainability for Cargill’s North American supply chain.
“This new program really does seek to stand alongside farmers and support them as they undertake soil health-focused activity like cover crops and tillage arrangements and actually pay them for doing things like sequestering carbon,” he says. “We want to try and support them get access to these new carbon pathways as they emerge.”
He tells Brownfield the RegenConnect program was created with the farmer in mind.
“There are numerous programs and people active in this space, so we want to do a couple of things— we want to be flexible enough to meet farmers where they are and depending on their particular production, rotation, crop type, and soil type, we can set up a program that gives them scenario planning opportunities so they can look at practices that meet their need based on the economics,” he says. “Second, we want to set up a system that is easy to work with in terms of not being bureaucratic and requiring a mess or paperwork because that was a lot of feedback we got back from growers. Thirdly, we want to be very transparent with growers about how our program works, contract types and lengths, and how much we predict the grower will sequester up front. So, all of those factors, we hope, provide a good value proposition to our farmer customers and at the same time can help recognize farmers for the great work they’re doing and link them into this broader carbon market as it develops in its various forms.”
Farmers enrolled in RegenConnect 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.
Fargher says the company has been enrolling farmers in the program for several months.
Cargill has also partnered with carbon measurement firm Regrow to help farmers measure, report, and verify crop outcomes using in-field data, remote sensing and crop and soil health modeling.
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Audio: Ben Fargher