On May 18, 2022, The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), announced the launch of a new initiative—the Resilient Agriculture Accelerator Fund (RAAF)—to strategically scale voluntary regenerative agriculture on farms in the U.S.
The RAAF seeks to:
- provide technical and other assistance to ranchers;
- reduce financial barriers for producers;
- support more resilient supply chains in the future; and
- address the effects of climate change.
The fund, established by TSC, is managed in cooperation with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).
Nutrien Ag Solutions, Syngenta, the Zoetis Foundation, and others have jointly pledged or contributed $1 million dollars to help create and improve resilient and regenerative supply chains to help increase food security, enhance agricultural conservation, and support thriving farm communities.
“Each grower who chooses to implement regenerative practices on their farm is on a very personal and unique sustainability journey,” said David Elser, Senior Vice President, North America Retail, for Nutrien Ag Solutions.
“Sustainability for many of these growers means recognizing a leading role in feeding a growing world and working the land responsibly so that their children, and their grandchildren, can continue the legacy that past generations began. We are honored to have the opportunity to support the RAAF recipients,” he continued.
This million-dollar pledge will be matched at a minimum of 1:1 scale with federal, state and other private funding to directly support growers and producers, creating at least $2 million in total funding.
The RAAF will leverage federal, state, and private foundation funds to amplify investments and help scale up resilient agriculture. Funding will be prioritized for the following farm needs:
- Technical assistance such as agronomic advice, digitizing farm data, and conservation practice implementation; and
- Financial assistance such as co-funding for on-farm conservation practices that sequester carbon, improve wildlife habitats, and/or protect water resource.
The fund also seeks to mitigate some of the up-front costs that are necessary to implement regenerative practices for dairy and row-crop farmers. In addition, the RAAF provides the opportunity to help create long-term returns for recipients who may choose to participate in emerging carbon and nutrient markets.
The initiative is led by TSC CEO, Dr. Christy Slay, who says “TSC is excited to launch this opportunity to improve farmer livelihoods and climate resilience by protecting soil, water, and wildlife. Cost is the biggest barrier for a farmer when considering practice changes and farm data digitization. Our goal is to create new opportunities to scale U.S. farmers’ efforts to adopt more resilient and regenerative practices.”
TSC and NFWF created a new partnership in 2021 to engage corporations to help scale up the support available to farmers who want to implement sustainable practices. Both organizations will build on existing partnerships with farmers, ranchers, TSC members, and other agricultural and conservation organizations.
“We’re excited about the future of regenerative agriculture and are proud to join this initiative,” said Steven Wall, Development Manager of Sustainable and Responsible Business for Syngenta in North America. “Helping to ensure growers have the tools, and in this instance the technical and financial resources, to adopt and use climate smart, regenerative growing practices fits perfectly with our culture and goals.”
Together, they will work with grant recipients to apply science-based metrics aimed at improving such things as water quality and quantity, carbon, soil health, as well as productivity and profitability.
“This new collaboration between TSC and NFWF will bring vital financial and technical resources to farmers and farming communities as they work to adopt cost-effective conservation practices,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. “Public-private partnerships are the key to helping agricultural producers voluntarily improve their operations while also enhancing natural resources.”
Nutrien Ag Solutions, Syngenta, the Zoetis Foundation, and others have committed funds to support dairy and row crop farmers as they transition to support more resilient agriculture practices.
“Building on our purpose to nurture the world and humankind by advancing care for animals, we are committed to supporting livestock farmers as they achieve their sustainability goals,” said Jeannette Ferran Astorga, Executive Vice President, Communications, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Zoetis and President of the Zoetis Foundation. “Through our grant to the Resilient Agriculture Accelerator Fund, the Zoetis Foundation will help farmers develop more sustainable businesses through tools to drive economic viability, thrive in increasingly dynamic marketplaces, and help protect family legacies.”
In addition, companies and foundations investing in the program will be able to share sourcing regions and priorities and use the impacts from the fund to track progress against sustainability goals.
Photo of a longhorn on an Arkansas ranch by Kenny Allen from Pixabay.