By Amy Skoczlas Cole

Connecting Producers to the Climate-Smart Economy with Opportunity Navigator

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December 4, 2023

As I think about what to expect from this year’s Sustainable Ag Summit, I imagine there will be great celebration and excitement around the growth of conservation agriculture and investment programs — from the Climate-Smart Commodities Partnership program to new announcements from corporate giants like Walmart, General Mills and PepsiCo.

Of course, all these programs ultimately depend on the producer on the ground to undertake a change. So I’ll be spending time with the many producers attending the Summit, gauging how they are viewing these newest developments. Or if they’re even aware of these opportunities.

Early adopters, of course, are on board. But Field To Market’s National Indicators Reports highlighted the slow trajectory of change across U.S. ag landscapes. In the conservation community, there’s much talk about improved science and innovative financial incentives – both of which are necessary to underpin sustainability transformations. But what seems to be missing right now is purposeful engagement with producers in the middle – those that may be open to change, but are not inherent risk takers and don’t have the time or energy to navigate the confusing array of programs. In fact, our conversations with producers at Farm Journal tell us that most producers don’t know what a Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program is–let alone how to engage with one.

That’s why we are trialing a new solution with our Climate-Smart Opportunity Navigator, a simple and streamlined app that allows producers to quicky ascertain which Climate-Smart Commodities projects fit their geography, operation type and conservation goals. Producers can filter by crop, livestock and conservation practice or resource concern they wish to address to access a comprehensive list of matching projects.

The app is available free, to producers via Farm Journal’s AgWeb platform, where more than 650,000 monthly users are already seeking information, and can now be connected to the Climate-Smart Commodity project that meets their needs.

At the end of the day, it is that perspective – starting from a deep understanding of what a producer wants and needs – that we at Trust In Food believe must underpin the climate-smart agriculture economy if we are to see it scale, and endure at the rate that our planetary health requires. We’re centering this perspective with our own grant, and we’re helping dozens of partners do the same. We hope this new trial helps drive even faster acceleration.

This app is a test, and I am sure we will improve along the way. To that end, we’d be grateful for your feedback. Please take a minute to test drive our Beta version, and let me know what you think by reaching out at acole@farmjournal.com.

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