Collaborative conservation policy principles

The Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, comprised of sustainable agriculture leaders, is committed to working with policymakers to advance public policies and programs that progress sustainable agriculture and scale the adoption of conservation practices. The Collaborative is working to create opportunities to replicate and scale sustainable outcomes in critically important areas.

To achieve this, it is important that the policy landscape keeps pace with sustainability efforts in the private sector. The following six principles can serve as a guide to ensure alignment as industry-leading, multinational companies and NGOs collaborate to advance policy options that will support and accelerate collaborative action and progress towards a more sustainable agricultural system.

Align agricultural program requirements to conservation objectives
Publicly-sponsored agricultural programs should encourage conservation objectives. The Collaborative supports incentives for farmers to adopt effective conservation when participating in these programs.

Increase availability and access to financial and other incentives
Up-front costs, insufficient investment returns, risks, and lack of knowledge can be barriers to successful implementation of conservation practices. The Collaborative supports increasing availability of incentives to farmers to overcome cost, risk, or learning-curve barriers to adoption of conservation measures.

Ensure programs are science driven
Conservation programs that incentivize farmers through public or private action should be aligned to scientific understanding. The Collaborative supports transparency and research to drive environmentally beneficial outcomes at scale, including improved processes to incorporate the latest science and conservation technologies into program implementation.

Foster public-private partnerships
The Collaborative supports and engages in programs that leverage public and private dollars and other resources to maximize resources, increase efficiencies, and build resilience and sustainable outcomes. There are many examples that prove partnering with local and regional governments and non-governmental entities is efficient and cost-effective.

Couple farmer incentives with technical assistance
Farmer financial and other voluntary incentives are a critical tool to support adoption of conservation practices and drive environmental outcomes. To ensure long-lasting adoption at scale, incentives must be paired with technical support for farmers to help them make the best decision for their farm. To best provide expanded technical assistance, the Collaborative supports increased communication and collaboration between public and private sector farm advisers.

Access to information
Farmers, agribusiness, companies and their partners need the best available data to make decisions on the farm and in the supply chain. The Collaborative supports engaging in relevant open data efforts at the state, federal and international levels.

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