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Starting in 2019, Sustainable Grain's weekly research will be focused on business growth strategies for farm and food companies in the regenerative organic market space, available by subscription.

Paris Accord Boosts Regenerative Agriculture

The leaders from nearly 200 nations who were gathered in Poland last month gave an 11th-hour nod to a plan to implement the Paris Agreement, a global climate deal that  outlines a framework for keeping the increase in global average temperature to 1.5°C in an effort to substantially reduce the risks of climate change.

The Poland meeting resulted in a plan for how to put the 2015 Paris agreement into action, beginning with the complex rules around how countries will account for and record their greenhouse gas emissions.

Advocates of regenerative agriculture are heralding the step as a move in the right direction. As the Paris Agreement takes a step ahead, global efforts to improve soil regeneration are close behind. During the 2015 Paris Climate Summit, the French government launched the 4 per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative,  a bold plan that, if adopted and implemented on a large scale by the countries that have signed on to the Paris climate deal, has the power to cool the planet and feed the world.

What is 4 per 1000? 

In simplest terms, the 4 per 1000 Initiative calls for countries to draw down more carbon than they emit, and to store it in the soil. This happens by scaling up regenerative farming, grazing and land-use practices. These practices lead to an increase in photosynthesis — nature’s own system for pulling excess carbon out of the air and sequestering it in the soil. They also produce more drought-resistant and resilient crops, and more nutrient-dense food.

A key driver behind the initiative is soil degradation, which now threatens at least a third of the earth’s land surface. Regenerative agriculture is quickly moving in as the mainstream solution, and as the Paris Agreement continues to progress this trend will continue.

Sustainable Grain seeks to pull together information and resources to fill the gaps for farming and food companies in this space. There is a strong business case here for finding and working the solutions to soil degradation and nutrient deficiencies in soils and foods, based on the continued upward trend in demand for organic and regenerative coming directly from consumers.

Regenerative Agriculture Holds the Keys 

For people who are new to the concept — regenerative agriculture is about rehabilitating soil health and re-establishing balanced chemistry and healthy biology in the soil. Some tactics for this include cover crops, intercropping, getting livestock back on the land — basically getting soil back to the way Mother Nature designed it.

One of the biggest markers of healthy soil is soil organic matter and it’s a metric that farms and agronomists are starting to track more closely. Increasing soil organic matter is one of the things agriculture can do immediately to help mitigate the risks of climate change, but it’s not just about that. This is a system of farming that is worth looking at from a pure business and economic standpoint.

The widespread volatility and illiquidity that was once pervasive in organic crop markets is now settling as more buyers enter the market. It used to be really tough just to liquidate inventories, but that was then. It was a risky marketing setup for farmers in the past, and now that is changing quickly. Several new companies have entered the organic space in last few years, which gives a lot more liquidity and stability to farmers who are in this market. And we all know which way the trend is going in terms of consumer demand for organic.

Regenerative practices are the 'on-ramp' for farmers to transition land into certified organic production and achieve the premium prices, with minimal yield loss. Along the way, building soil health and the fields' natural ability to produce healthy food ingredients is the true pathway for sustainable farming: environmentally, economically and respectfully. 

Market Economies Incent Change.

To continue receiving these reports, email brenda@sustainablegrain.ca or visit our website at sustainablegrain.ca. There you can also find updates on how our company is growing and evolving to help fill the information gaps for producing and merchandising safe, nutritious food crops to modern consumers and commodity markets locally and around the world. 

Copyright © 2018. Sustainable Grain Inc. All rights reserved.

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