Forrest Brown also contributed to this post
Heavy industry and transportation aren’t the only big emitters contributing to the climate crisis. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 24 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from “agriculture, forestry, and other land use,” with agriculture accounting for most of that.
But farming is in a unique position to transform into a climate-positive industry thanks to a little something called regenerative agriculture. More and more farmers are turning to regenerative ag, but science and technical readiness still present significant challenges to widespread adoption. That’s where Regrow Ag comes in.
Check out the webinar we recently hosted with Regrow Ag to learn more about the products and tech driving big agrifood programs, empowering farmers to make money producing food in a climate-positive way. If you don’t have time to watch the full webinar right now, keep scrolling for some highlights, lightly edited for length and clarity.
What’s your mission at Regrow Ag?
At Regrow, we’re working to solve the problem of climate change and transform agriculture to help mitigate its effects. Our mission is to make resilient agriculture ubiquitous on every acre, across the globe. This short video illustrates our mission and vision (with some fun illustrations!).
We want to enable farmers to continue their journey of land and product stewardship by making scientific and data back solutions that are accessible, scalable, and actionable for farms.
Climate change is a global issue, so we find it necessary to have an international team—the regrow staff is located in more than eight countries and represents over 10 different languages!
Why focus on regenerative agriculture?
We are facing a global climate crisis, and over the last 2,000 years, agriculture has contributed significantly to that problem. Agriculture contributes 11 percent of our global CO2 emissions, and in 2018, the top 10 emitting countries emitted 7.7 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) per capita—that’s the weight of one orca whale per person, multiplied by 4.7 billion people!
If we care for the soil properly, we can reduce annual emissions from food production, sequester GHG from the atmosphere, and mitigate climate change.
Where is Regrow today?
We currently monitor nearly 200 million acres of land annually in 45 countries, and we’ve already sequestered more than 77,000 metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere. And that’s just in our pilot year of one project with one partner!
We’ve partnered with Cargill, The Nature Conservancy, and General Mills to help food producers reduce emissions and allow companies to meet their net zero emissions goals. We’ve also kickstarted projects like Niche, a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that optimizes crop placement in Subsaharan Africa with partners like NASA and Harvard.
Overall, we’re growing really quickly and we don’t plan to slow down anytime soon!
What role does Regrow play in agricultural supply chains?
In a really simple flow, a product grown on a farm goes to a buyer, then that gets sold to a manufacturer that makes a product, that we then buy on a shelf in a grocery store. That looks really simple when we lay it out—but the reality is actually a super complex matrix of different products, being grown in different places, using different methods, being purchased by different intermediary supply chain partners, different manufacturers producing different types of goods, and then all of the different end points at which we consume products.
The fact that this supply chain is really complex makes it hard to connect the decision makers and provide actionable steps for each of these groups within the supply chain. That might sound like a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity for us—there are so many groups who are already doing good work, and they just need a way to connect with the other partners within the supply chain and to have a foundation of really strong science and data that they can use to communicate with one another.
How does Regrow collect data?
We get data through a combination of remote sensing, carbon modeling, and analytics—together, these tools allow us to estimate carbon soil stock and greenhouse gas.
Through remote sensing, we’re able to discern various management practices that growers are deploying on a farm, coupling that information with public data sources for climate and soil. That gives us enough information to go and simulate a variety of outcomes. Put together and combined with our analytics tools, we can empower customers to make informed decisions and optimize for practices that are better for the soil and for the planet without sacrificing yields.
What does Regrow do with this data?
Regrow has three global product suites. First is the Crop Insights Platform—producers, project developers and food companies spanning different regions and crop types can use our Crop Insights tool to implement resilient farming practices efficiently. For example, farmers can use the platform to identify how to improve nitrogen management or choose a practice that makes the most sense for their field.
Second is the Sustainability Insights Tool—this allows companies to monitor the adoption of sustainability practices, calculate the abatement potential of untapped agricultural regions and make critical decisions about their sourcing and supply chains.
Third is the MRV Platform—today, the global economy is prepared to pay producers to adopt sustainable practices. In order to pay for these efforts, we need a simple and scalable way to calculate their environmental effect. The MRV tool brings scalability and transparency to ecosystem markets, enabling their growth and market endurance.
What’s up next for Regrow?
We’re expanding, and we’re not going to be stopping anytime soon! So the future of Regrow is going to look like adding regions, adding crop types, adding new practices to our suite of tools, and continuing to grow as a team.
We’ll have much less CO2 going into the atmosphere, a lot more carbon feeding the processes in the soil. We’ll have a lot more farmers being compensated for the good work they’re doing, we’ll have a lot more food companies enacting the change they want to see in the world, and taking their goals from words to action.
Read more: Insights on the Climate Workforce