Climate-SMART Crops - American Farmland Trust

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Climate-SMART Crops

Scaling Mechanisms for Agriculture’s Regenerative Transformation (SMART) – Creating Climate Smart Markets for Corn, Soy, Wheat, Cotton, and Dairy

American Farmland Trust is collaborating on an innovative project led by Truterra, the sustainability business of Land O’Lakes. This Climate SMART Project (Scaling Mechanisms for Agriculture’s Regenerative Transformation) aims to catalyze a self-sustaining, market-based network to broaden farmer access, scale up adoption of climate-smart, soil health-promoting practices, and sustainably produce wheat, soy, cotton, and dairy commodities with verified and quantified climate benefits. The Climate SMART Project is being implemented with funding and support from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service by way of its Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities (PCSC) program.

The Truterra network includes agricultural retailers and service providers who support farm businesses and the people who operate them. Ag retail agronomists have taken an increasing interest in developing conservation products and services for delivery to their farmer clients. A promising convergence of science, art, practice, and sales, the Climate SMART Project represents an unprecedented collaboration between conservation professionals in the public and private sectors to bridge the gap between agency-guided knowledge of conservation and retailer-led experience with the business of farming. The Climate SMART Project shares the PCSC program’s overall goals to increase farmer adoption of climate-smart practices that reduce net emissions, ensure equal access to underserved producers, and  grow the market for climate-smart products.

The team that also includes our many partners, listed below, will be:

  • Helping over 7000 diverse farmers of corn, soy, wheat, cotton, and dairy adopt climate-smart practices such as cover crops, reduced tillage, improved nitrogen management, biochar application, and more on 7 million acres across the United States
  • Bringing about greenhouse gas benefits of 7 million metric tons of CO2e

American Farmland Trust, in collaboration with various partners, will be:

  • Offering an Advanced Soil Health Training (ASHT) program for influencers: farmers, non-profit and commercial agricultural service professionals, and consultants across the country who want to promote and advise on adopting these practices on their farms and in their agricultural communities. Trained advisors will become part of the team, with funds set aside for their time to influence adoption. Applications for participation will be opening in early 2024 and will be posted on
  • Enrolling and engaging diverse farmers in peer-to-peer networks to share technical insights to facilitate successful adoption and receive financial assistance.
  • Building out technical resources for farmers and their service providers on the Farmland Information Center
  • Hosting listening sessions with historically underserved communities to ensure we understand barriers to access and needs and collaborate toward identifying and building solutions
  • Offering organizational $100K microgrants to organizations serving historically underserved producers for adapting our training to best serve these audiences
  • Leading Learning Circles for non-operating landowners to connect with their renting producers on the adoption of climate-smart, soil health-promoting systems
  • Conducting program-wide evaluation to share challenges and lessons learned with the public

Stay Tuned for Updates

Please let us know if you’re interested in updates, enrolling your farm, or when applications open for advanced soil health trainings, microgrants, and other programs!

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Our partners include:

Truterra Ag Retail Network: Truterra’s leading role in the project includes connecting AFT and other project partners with its national network of agricultural retailers to collaboratively design and deliver conservation technical assistance to producers. As a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Truterra was founded in 2016 to create innovative sustainability solutions.  Today, Truterra supports a national network of 50 cooperative and independent agricultural retailers offering agronomy, crop inputs, and grain handling and marketing services with nearly 1,000 locations.

Land O’Lakes (LOL): In addition to Truterra, LOL operates three other lines of business. WinField United is the largest U.S. distributor of crop inputs, with over 900 agricultural retailer and cooperative member-owners providing agronomy and crop input services for an estimated half of all U.S harvested acres. LOL Dairy Foods is a leading producer of dairy products and sources milk from 1,400 dairy producers across the country. Finally, Purina Animal Nutrition is a leading producer of valuable dairy nutrition and feed technology solutions to producers across the nation through the Purina retail network. LOL member-owners live and work in over 10,000 rural communities across the nation and are deeply invested in the success of those communities.

Federation of Southern Cooperatives (the Federation) is a non-profit cooperative association of Black farmers, landowners, and cooperatives serving a primary membership base in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.  In addition to delivering technical assistance and Network resources to their membership, the Federation will leverage their existing relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout the Southeast to train Black Climate Smart agronomists.

The Soil Health Institute is the pre-eminent soil science organization specializing in carbon, nutrient, and water cycling. SHI safeguards and enhances the vitality and productivity of soils through scientific research and advancement. Climate SMART will invest in SHI’s ground-breaking Soil Health Targets work, which will dramatically improve the ability of farmers to assess and improve soil function through adoption of soil health systems.

Black Family Land Trust, Inc. provides educational, technical, and financial services to ensure, protect, and preserve landownership for African Americans and other historically under-served landowners. Its mission includes a focus on responsible management of land, including stewardship and sustainability.

Farm Credit Council represents the farm credit system of 65 customer-owned retail lending associations and four wholesale banks serving nearly 605,000 customers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The Council has long-term working relationships with many small/underserved producer organizations. As a partner, FCC will connect their local associations with Network providers for access to program resources and services.

Allied Soil Health Services is an Environmental Consulting Firm specializing in Soil Health, Regenerative Agriculture, and Biochar.

Western New York Crop Management Association is a grower owned cooperative that provides Nutrient Management, Crop Scouting, Soil Sampling, CAFO Planning and other services to over 450 member farms throughout Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania.

Agricultural Consulting Services, Inc. (ACS) collects data and consults with farmers to help them grow better crops and navigate complex and changing environmental regulations. ACS helps farmers optimize soil fertility, identify and control pests, and manage the land to minimize erosion and nutrient losses. ACS believes in farming, science-based decision making, and that each of us makes a difference for farmers today and for future generations.

U.S. Biochar Initiative is a not-for-profit organization promoting the sustainable production and use of biochar through research, policy, technology, and implementation.

OpenTEAM, or the Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management, is equipping food systems leaders with shared knowledge, collaborative frameworks for problem-solving, and open source, connected technologies to build climate change resilience and thriving communities. Through this work, we are collectively building an open source, interoperable tech ecosystem that enables farmer-control of data, knowledge sharing, and access to programs and marketplace incentives.