Crops News

Report shows the importance of sustainable ag tech investment


U.S. farmers are leaders when it comes to using leading-edge technologies and best management practices to improve soil health while also increasing economic and environmental sustainability. By scaling up climate-smart agriculture, U.S. agriculture could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than half by 2025, from 9.9 percent to 3.8 percent, and ultimately be a carbon sink by 2035 at -4 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions by 2035.

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action partnered with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, The Mixing Bowl, and Croatan Institute to release a report that analyzes the state of emerging soil health technology and the need for climate-smart technologies to be commercialized with partnership funding from private sector capital investors.

“U.S. agriculture has the potential to be the first net negative greenhouse gas emissions sector in our economy,” said Lynn Rohrscheib, United Soybean Board farmer-leader from Illinois and USFRA board member. “Reaching that goal is important to me because sustainability’s connection to improving soil health translates into long-term viability for my farm and the next generation.”

Providing economic context, the report included an in-depth analysis of the $972 billion in annual capital that flows from asset owners through asset classes and financial intermediaries to participants in the U.S. agricultural value chain. The report revealed the primary funding sources include institutional investors (approx. $600 billion), retail investors (approx. $360 billion) and U.S. government via federal/state payments and incentives (approx. $20 billion).

Beyond investment, leveraging technology to accelerate and scale on-farm adoption of climate-smart agriculture encompasses several action steps that align with USB’s sustainability goals. This ranges from supporting the development of tools that collect on-farm data to exchanging best practice know-how and data related to soil health, yield, profitability, etc. The report outlines these action steps as a vital linchpin to unlock the full potential of our soils

“It is critical the financial community partners with farmers and ranchers to help the U.S. achieve a transitional net-zero economy,” said USFRA CEO Erin Fitzgerald. “Farmers and ranchers and the sector need investment over the next decade to realize the potential of agricultural soils as a natural climate solution.”

Climate-smart agriculture is a suite of practices that increases productivity and income, enhances resiliency and adaptive capacity and reduces GHG emissions. Overall, the USFRA report focuses on six established farming and ranching practices, spanning:

  • No-till/reduced tillage with retained residues.
  • Cover crops.
  • Crop rotation.
  • Compost application.
  • Managed grazing.
  • Integrated crop and livestock systems.

The release of this investment report is one step and an essential pathway in the process of mapping soil carbon sequestration targets. USFRA will bring together representatives from each of the participating organizations, companies and investment partners to co-create action plans and funding/investment streams to continue moving the initiative forward.

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