What Is Needed to Unlock and Scale Regenerative Farming Incentives?
In a world facing climate emergency, farmers could be the biggest solution, writes Adrian White at PrecisionAg. Agriculture and carbon markets may be the major keys to offsetting emissions — though they’re not without their hurdles.
Four experts and leaders from top innovative ag tech companies convened for an online panel in November, outlining obstacles to “scaling up” regenerative agriculture hopefully to the millions and even billions of acres. The answer was clear: based on their collective progress, emerging solutions are only a matter of time and tenacity.
“How close do you think we are today to leveraging agriculture to drive nature-based climate solutions?” asked panel leader Renée Vassilos, Director of Agriculture and Innovation for The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
For panelist Anastasia Volkova, CEO and Founder of FluroSat, it’s all about getting more data on soil health to prove its great outcomes to farmers. And not just any data: site-specific data, tailored to the individual farmer, their location, and their unique scaling challenges. Volkova believes this is critical but will take time.
“We’re a global ag tech company that solves problems in data-informed decisions in agronomy,” said Volkova. “So, [we’re] working with cooperatives, retailers, food processors, and manufacturers to really help them to distill the rich data world of food production into something that’s manageable and that they can…improve on.”
One example Volkova gave: nitrogen data. “As you know…we need to get [nitrogen] inputs right and getting the inputs right is by no means simple [in regenerative farming],” said Volkova. As such, FluroSat is working hard dialing in the best nitrogen input data on a location-by-location basis— even convincing skeptical farmers on-farm. “Every farmer always said, ‘It’s nice that you have this…scalable system [for soil health]. But how do I know what’s right for me?’”
Interim CEO, Chief Strategy Officer, and Ph.D. William Salas of Dagan, Inc. echoed Volkova. The biggest hurdle is the proof of the benefits. This needs not only a data-driven solution, he insisted, but also a technology-driven one to capture that data.
“We’re an ag tech company whose mission it is to make resilient agriculture ubiquitous,” said Salas about Dagan. “We’re figuring out how the role of technology, as soil modeling and satellite observations, can help build a business case for soil health, so we can scale up.”
Salas thinks Dagan working with data-drivers like FluroSat can provide very incentivizing evidence to leverage change. By monitoring widespread soil conditions on farms, how they can be improved, and compiling that data through cutting edge technology, this could speed things up for soil health on farms around the globe, and at a very critical moment in agriculture.