How we approach shared learning
Collaborative members provide unique value by sharing their successes, challenges, and insights from their project work, both internally and externally. These learnings include:
- strategies, processes, or structures used in the development of a program,
- economic insights, drivers, and the business case for sustainable practices,
- different tactical approaches to project implementation that impacted the results (positively or negatively),
- best practices for collaboration and engagement, and
- insights from the best available science and collected data.
Lessons are gathered through a variety of channels, including an annual member survey, bi-annual reporting, interviews, and facilitated discussions. Through regular calls, webinars, and in-person convenings, Collaborative members have explored a range of topics together:
- The business case for soil health
- Financing resilient agriculture, including outcomes-based approaches
- Promoting sustainable practices to “middle adopters”
- The role of non-operator landowners
- New approaches to standards & assurance
- Regenerative grazing
- Social barriers to practice adoption
These shared learning opportunities serve to strengthen relationships, improve the effectiveness of the Collaborative’s member projects, and contribute to knowledge within the field.
Policy & Consumer Engagement Forums
Due to COVID-19, our Policy Forum and Consumer Engagement Forum—originally planned for 2020—have been delayed to 2021.
Members continue to engage and build knowledge on both of these topics. The Collaborative’s Policy Work Group is actively identifying policy priorities within the scope of soil health, water, climate, and supply chain resilience to inform the next convening.
Members of the Collaborative are looking forward to sharing their experience at a session at VERGE 20 entitled Values-driven Consumers Area Changing the Food Industry. Are You Ready?
Conservation Finance in Agriculture
In October 2019, the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative convened a Forum on Conservation Finance in Agriculture to focus on unlocking finance as a tool for encouraging the adoption of regenerative practices.
The forum brought together a group of leading organizations and key stakeholders in the agriculture system—including lenders, agricultural retailers, farmers, companies, and nonprofits—to explore how the economic benefits of sustainable farming can be captured at different parts of the value chain through the mechanism of conservation finance.
Financial models explored:
- Lending products
- Outcomes-based financing
- Leveraging off-take relationships
- Ecosystem markets
Among the themes that emerged was the need for more and better data to prove the value of applying conservation finance and regenerative practices. Several attendees agreed to continue advancing work on the discussed models, including the Collaborative’s efforts to develop a Soil Health Lending Product.