Soil degradation is a looming crisis for the future of our food systems. We have discussed solutions like crop diversification and natural fertilization methods, but when it comes to funding these solutions, things get a bit more complicated. How can we convince farmers to invest in regenerative agriculture practices now on the promise of improved future yields? A new investment fund, rePlant Capital thinks it has a solution.
The fund is offering farm loans to producers across the country with one catch: interest rates are tied to soil health factors like improvements in soil’s carbon and water storage. Funded by predominantly female investors, the fund is making $250 million available to farmers transitioning to regenerative or organic practices.
Farmers in the US have $426 billion in farm debt while a third of the country’s topsoil has eroded in the past 50 years. RePlant Capital co-founder, Robyn O’Brien, sees the fund as a win-win for farmers and the planet.
One of the fund’s initial loans went to Kansas-based McCarty Family Farms, a dairy farm looking to reduce their water consumption. Anther went to White Oak Pastures, a beef and hog farm known for their regenerative practices which successfully increased organic matter in their soils from 1 to 5 percent in 25 years. They used the loan to further expand their emissions reductions capabilities.
Regenerative agriculture solutions and innovations are numerous, but farmers often don’t have the disposable funds to implement these critical changes. RePlant Capital offers farmers the opportunity to implement soil health solutions and reap the benefits, without relying on traditional loans with high-interest rates.