The power of private and public investment in creating landscape-level change
Farming is one of the sectors most at risk from a changing climate. At the same time unsustainable farming practices in the Midwest are increasing pressure on the landscape through reduced soil health, water quality and retention, and biodiversity.
The private sector can play a significant role in addressing these urgent issues, and Midwest Row Crop Collaborative members are committed to testing and scaling approaches to help transition row crop production toward a regenerative system that increases productivity while ensuring soil health, protecting water, addressing the factors contributing to climate change, and supporting farm families.
Supply chain projects led by these companies and organizations operate at a significant size, but their direct impact and influence alone is not enough to drive landscape-level change. Policies set at the federal, state, and local levels are critical to help reduce negative externalities associated with agriculture, and MRCC members recommend policy that invests in agriculture as a climate solution.
This is a defining moment for positive agriculture policy. The upcoming farm bill is the last policy opportunity for Congress to significantly influence the agricultural system ahead of the deadline for companies to meet their 2030 science-based targets. MRCC members have set greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, which include land-based emission reductions. Additionally, for companies, farmers, consumers, and communities to experience the benefits of a more resilient food and agriculture system, there is a dire need for increased focus and resources for climate and the environment beyond the conservation title alone.
Scaled adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices supported by public and private investment offers a significant opportunity for farmers to become more resilient, build soil health, increase biodiversity, and protect water systems while helping them become more economically sustainable through reduced input costs and diversified income streams.
Given the significant current and future investments by the corporate sector to meet their science-based targets and improve the productivity and resiliency of the commodities they rely on, the 2023 farm bill is a critical opportunity for Congress and the Administration to partner with the private sector for investments in landscape-level, climate-smart, and regenerative agriculture policies and practices.
MRCC members developed policy priorities and shared recommendations with key leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and USDA leadership, and they will continue to engage decision makers through the upcoming farm bill and beyond. These insights are informed by members’ collective experience and deep partnerships with farmers. MRCC believes these shifts are essential to achieve at-scale practice adoption, meet greenhouse gas reductions, and enhance supply-chain resilience.
- Develop tools in partnership with private sector leaders that improve the cost-effectiveness and accuracy of monitoring, measurement, reporting, and verification to help farmers engage in ecosystem and climate markets and verify practices and impacts for value chain partners.
- Create streamlined, consistent, and understandable processes for producers and other supply chain partners to account for existing practices and to track progress and accountability toward Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Science Based Targets Initiative.
- Support the improvement of readily available verification tools that include robust measurement, monitoring, reporting, and verification to maximize credibility, compatibility, usability, financial benefit, and interoperability by farmers.
- Ensure standards for programs that enable farmer participation in emerging climate and ecosystems markets are strong and verifiable.
- Accelerate the impact of conservation programs through increased investment, flexibility, adaptability, and ongoing improvements in program delivery to maximize the benefits of public-private collaboration, prioritize funding for practices and management systems with the greatest outcome for climate and co-benefits for biodiversity, water, and soil health, and increase investment in conservation technical assistance.
- Enable innovation by creating a dedicated team for moving innovative ideas and technologies from pilot-scale to mainstream programming.