SmartRegenAg: The smart farming program for climate friendly food production
60% of emissions from food production are generated by agriculture. To change this, we need to start on the farm. SmartRegenAg is a program that helps farmers sequester carbon through the transformation of farming practices. We support them by combining cutting-edge technology and tools with an incentive system.
SmartRegenAg aims to inspire 1000 farmers to become pioneers of regenerative agriculture and make a positive impact on the planet. Our goal is to sequester 200’000 t CO2eq over 3 years.
Who are the people behind the project and what is your background?
The SmartRegenAg program has been developed by AgriCircle, an ag-tech company that consists of 10 people with academic backgrounds in agronomy/farming, data and environmental science, software engineering, biotech, biodiversity, and business administration. With our combined efforts at AgriCircle, we already have great success and experience in helping farmers to adapt their work to sequester more carbon and to become more sustainable in terms of all planetary boundaries.
How did your idea come into being?
Our founder, Peter, changed his farming practice to be regenerative and to increase his soil health. After having the experience, he wanted to make the benefits visible and measurable for every farmer. So, the DORA (Driving Outcomes of Regenerative Agriculture) advisory-toolkit algorithms were developed together with ESA (European Space Agency), to provide insights through satellite images. Together with ETH and others, we developed algorithms for precision sampling, that allow us to provide a holistic picture of any farm and get highly accurate carbon and soil vitality measures.
What is your idea to impactfully design a climate positive FOODprint for Switzerland?
Soil is one of the single most important part of our ecosystem. Its tremendous capacity to store carbon in vast quantities has maintained the climate balance in the past. Now we want to help farmers, the ones who work our soils, to create measurable impact. Adapting farming practices to regenerate our soils, will not only remove carbon from our atmosphere, but also make food production more climate resilient and increase productivity in the long term. To get there, two things are required; farmers need to understand where they can adapt their production, and they need financial incentives, since building up carbon in the soil requires investment.
SmartRegenAg, aims to help farmers optimize practices to increase soil resilience, improve their yield, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Farmers that participate, benefit not only from coaching, data, and tools to shift to regenerative agriculture practices, but also get compensated for each ton of carbon they sequester in the soil.
How do you define the positive impact of your solution on the problem described above?
We can not only define, but also measure and validate our positive impact. Something many carbon programs fail to do.
We piloted our program already with 20 farmers in Switzerland. Farmers choose to participate in our program for the following reasons:
· Best available field data for making educated practice changes
· Tools that provide transparent performance tracking
· Coaching approach that combines farmer knowledge and technology (Remote Sensing and data analytics)
· Financial compensation for sequestered carbon (CHF 100/t CO2eq)
SmartRegenAg aims to inspire 1000 farmers in the next 3 years to become pioneers of regenerative agriculture and make a positive impact on the planet. Our goal is to sequester 200’000 t CO2eq over this timeframe.
Healthy soils provide healthy food leading to healthy people as well as several other aspects such as an increase in biodiversity, reduced pesticide and fertilizer usage, increased water retention and new income possibilities for farmers.