This week, Regrow was named the winner of the AgriNovus Indiana 2021 Producer-Led Innovation Challenge. The challenge, presented by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance, was designed to inspire innovators to reduce the barriers for agriculture carbon markets.
AgriNovus Indiana and its partners recognized a significant barrier to carbon market participation among farmers: data collection. Farmers are required to conduct complex multi-year data assembly in order to confirm their management practices and earn high-value credits. This data collection, which spans not only sources but also data types, is time-consuming and inefficient.
In response to this issue, AgriNovus Indiana and its partners asked innovators to develop software that enables farmers to integrate years of data, from multiple sources and across farm operations, to create a market-ready data set (using minimal manual data entry) that doesn’t require a specific level of technological maturity from farmers.
Regrow immediately took interest in this challenge. The challenge allowed us access to insights and learnings directly from Indiana producers, which we could use to shape our solution. Conversations with producers showed us that each farmer’s operation is nuanced. Variations in management styles, data types and even file formats is a source of frustration for participants.
As producer Jake Smoker said during a conversation, “It’s not just yield data anymore [that’s required for carbon markets]. And we do have the data, but now we need to learn how to deal with it and manage it.” Farmers also expressed the importance of automating data collection, so that they could focus on managing the other aspects of their operations.
These insights are — and always have been — essential in Regrow’s product development process. Understanding what farmers need, and how technology can truly facilitate agriculture’s progress, is what drives product innovation.
Regrow posed an independent measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) tool as a solution to this year’s challenge. The tool uses scientifically rigorous crop and soil models, connectivity to farm management platforms and satellite imagery to create an agronomically-based platform with the transparency of a fair, trustworthy market and a true ability to scale.
Manal Elarab, Head of Business and Product Development, discussed the challenge and our work in a recent episode of AgriNovus Indiana’s Ag + Bio + Science Podcast:
“What excites us about this challenge is that it was farmer-driven. It really posed the right questions,” said Manal. In developing Regrow’s solution to this problem, Manal emphasized, “We want growers to understand the impact of their practices on soil health. We want to be resilient, and we want to facilitate knowledge and education for growers.”
Watch Manal’s conversation with AgriNovus:
AgriNovus also produced a podcast based on this conversation. You can listen on Spotify, Apple or Stitcher.
Carbon market participation, according to AgriNovus, is on the horizon of agricultural and food system transformation. 67% of Indiana farmers plan to become involved in carbon markets in the future, according to a June 2021 survey of Indiana producers conducted by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance.
Having access to transparent, scientifically rigorous data and easy-to-use software will enable farmers to build more resilient operations and take advantage of the new profit opportunities that lie within carbon markets.
Regrow has been awarded funding and resources to continue the rollout of our MRV tool and to further our efforts in sustainable agriculture. The first versions of the MRV tool are already facilitating transactions between farmers and credit buyers, and we look forward to our continued innovation with industry change makers.
Learn more about ecosystem markets through our eBook: Carbon Farming & Ecosystem Markets 101.