Compeer Financial and Land Core have announced a new partnership in which the member-owned Farm Credit cooperative will support the soil health non-profit’s cross-sector initiative to build a predictive model of the risk-mitigating benefits of soil health practices.
There is broad scientific consensus that soil health practices, like cover crops, no-till and diverse crop rotations, can improve resilience to flood and drought, and can sequester carbon. Mounting evidence also shows that these de-risking practices can improve yield stability and farmer profitability over time. Yet there is still a need for economic incentives to help producers adopt these operational changes.
“The Land Core Risk Model will give financial service providers the missing tools they need to quantify the risk reduction benefits of soil health practices,” said Harley Cross, Co-Founder and Director of Strategy at Land Core. “This will enable them to develop incentives that de-risk their clients’ operations and de-risk their own lending and insurance portfolios at the same time.”
Compeer will develop and pilot various incentive options based on the Land Core Risk Model in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin later this year, becoming the first major agricultural financial services provider to approach risk assessment through the lens of sustainability and soil health.
“This partnership will allow us to support our clients by giving them tools to leverage their investments in soil health,” said Terry Hinds, Chief Asset Quality and Assurance Officer at Compeer Financial. “This kind of model not only has the potential to increase sustainability and resilience, but can create an economic pathway to emerging carbon markets for US producers. It holds real promise for long-term increases in profitability.”
The Land Core Risk Model, which uses satellite imagery to quantify the impacts of soil health practices on yield stability, is being developed by a cross-sector team of experts including faculty and researchers from UC Berkeley, Michigan State University and UC Davis, along with industry-leading modelers and advisors from Regrow (formerly Dagan, Inc.), CiBO Technologies, Open Rivers Consulting Associates, Stanford University and Colorado State University. Compeer Financial will now bring decades of industry insights in both lending and insurance to provide active feedback and financial support for the model’s pilot development.
“Compeer’s innovation and proactive leadership in this space could change the way risk is assessed in ag lending and insurance in the coming years, and scale the transition to soil health practices, radically improving the sustainability of US agriculture.” added Aria McLauchlan, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Land Core.
“I’ve seen the benefits of cover cropping and other soil health practices in improving resilience on my farm over the last 15 years,” said Rick Clark, Clark Land & Cattle. “It’s exciting to see an organization like Compeer acknowledging these impacts and to know that a whole new generation of farmers will benefit from this approach to risk assessment, reducing the barriers to adopting more sustainable practices.”
Following the regional pilot, Land Core will roll out its Risk Model at a national scale in 2022 as a pragmatic decision-making tool available to lenders and insurers to accelerate the transition to soil health and a more resilient agricultural system.