Incentivizing Regenerative Agriculture Practices
Diversified agricultural practices can function as both mechanisms of climate harm reduction and drivers of agricultural climate resilience. UC Berkeley Agroecology (Dr. Tim Bowles and team), the Land Core non-profit organization, and collaborators from other universities have built leading models which convert agricultural practices like cover cropping, tillage, and crop rotation into a risk score that captures the projected benefits of different management practices. The DSE data science and engineering team has started closing the gap between academic knowledge and operationalized decision making, working alongside these groups and their financial / policy network to start designing a tool that makes agricultural model outputs usable in incentivizing sustainable farming. Allowing for comparison of the risk / resilience of practice scenarios at the field, farm, and county scale, this tool will have a range of applications, including:
- Allowing individual agricultural producers assessment of the implications of adoption of one or more regenerative techniques,
- Supporting a process for comparative risk assessment for agricultural finance institutions (lenders and insurers) to incentivize conversion to the sustainable practices by offering more favorable rates to lower risk farms.
- Functioning as a driver of policy change at the federal level that could result in incentivization of regenerative agriculture as part of a systemic sea change via the Farm Bill.
Our iterative process in the agricultural risk assessment tool will include model development with Dr. Bowles and will take advantage of a network of decision makers provided by Land Core.