The Midwest Row Crop Collaborative has put its shared learning and partnership focus into practice to achieve results across our systems change pathways.
Through these projects, we’ve…
- Facilitated the implementation of over a quarter-million acres of sustainable agriculture practices
- Removed risks for farmers by providing data and financial incentives supporting practice adoption
- Provided education and awareness about soil health, water quality, and climate mitigation to thousands of practitioners and consumers.
Our 2020 Progress Report highlights examples of the Collaborative’s progress since 2016 and demonstrates the importance of working across different pathways for change in the agricultural system.
Training the Trainer
We supported trusted advisors in learning about sustainable agriculture through the agricultural retailer-focused program, SPARC.
Investing in Partners
Supporting the Soil Health Partnership, we quantified the benefits of practices that improved soil health and expanded the network’s capacity.
We increased farmer participation in cover crop programs and gathered the data necessary to build a business case for soil health.
With the support and engagement of local networks, we tested approaches related to outreach, support, and other incentives to drive practice adoption.
We advocated for policies at the state and federal level that supported innovation, research, and partnerships to improve water quality and soil health.
Improving Water Quality
Focused on Iowa and Illinois, we strengthened program delivery that improved water quality and added an additional 50,000 acres of cover crops planted.
We partnered with Future Farmers of America to develop and deliver a shopper engagement campaign in Midwestern Walmarts on more sustainable farming practices.
As a catalytic and systems change-focused initiative working across multiple organizations, geographies, and project types with a long-term view, the Collaborative has devised an approach to measuring and reporting on its impact that reflects these realities of its work.
It can be challenging to measure the more catalytic aspects of this work—stronger relationships between companies and NGOs leading to deeper partnerships, staying up to date on the most effective strategies and program approaches from fellow members, identifying areas of mutual interest for sharing risk and investment and collaboratively testing new approaches. All of these have helped members to advance their work, but can be difficult to capture with metrics.
Therefore, members has chosen to report on both the catalytic and direct project impacts of the Collaborative’s work, including systemic barriers that a project addresses, supply chain actors engaged, total additional acres using soil health practices, and lessons learned from a project. The Collaborative will also report on additional metrics most relevant to an individual project, for example total GHG reductions, reductions in nutrient loading, irrigation efficiency improvement, consumer engagement, or improved farm profitability.
We plan to share our ongoing progress in an annual Impact Report beginning in 2021.