Midwest Row Crop Collaborative conducts campaign to normalize regenerative agriculture
Midwest Row Crop Collaborative (MRCC) members are conducting a media campaign to help increase acceptance of regenerative agriculture within farming communities. The campaign, funded by the Walmart Foundation, targets middle and late adopters of regenerative agriculture to reduce misconceptions around the costs and benefits of these practices.
This project will produce insights on ways to engage farmers of varying row crop types and adoption readiness levels that can be used by others designing and implementing campaigns in food and agricultural systems.
“This campaign will engage more farmers in the conversation around the benefits of regenerative farming,” said VP and COO of the Walmart Foundation, Julie Gehrki. “The project will also provide companies, non-profits, universities, government, and others with effective engagement strategies to support farmers transitioning to more regenerative farming systems – accelerating our goal of scaling these systems across the U.S. Midwest.”
MRCC’s outreach strategy focuses on regions in west, central, and southern Iowa, northeast Nebraska, and east central Illinois, selected because MRCC member companies are conducting programs in the region. Trust In Food, a social purpose initiative of Farm Journal, will design, implement, and analyze a survey of Midwestern producers, and the findings will be used to create a regenerative agriculture media campaign strategy targeted at row crop producers within the designated regions.
The planned campaign will be shared through multiple agriculture media channels and timed to reach as many farmers as possible. Trust In Food and MRCC members will evaluate the efficacy of the campaign to identify insights and tools that can be packaged into a playbook used by NGOs, supply chain companies, and conservation districts/government entities to reach farmers.
MRCC members anticipate that this campaign will result in increased levels of engagement, awareness, and acceptance of regenerative agriculture among farmers and landowners.
“By gaining additional insights into the challenges and motivations of producers to adopting regenerative agriculture practices, we can work to expand resources and opportunities for increased adoption of practices. We can also better communicate about how changing the way we farm benefits farmers, communities and our global food system,” said Carrie Vollmer-Sanders, director of agricultural engagement strategy for The Nature Conservancy and MRCC co-chair.
The campaign is intended to help accelerate the adoption of regenerative farming systems. Regenerative agriculture is gaining momentum as row crop producers express increasing interest in the benefits of more resilient farming systems and more companies invest in strategies to meet environmental goals and support robust agricultural systems, but adoption has been hampered by its limited cultural acceptance among row crop producers. Farmers and the broader public need a deeper understanding of regenerative agriculture’s benefits and the value it offers to farms, communities, and food and agricultural systems.
Ariel Kagan, Environmental Initiative’s director of agriculture strategy, says addressing the hesitancy to adopt these practices at levels of farming will help lead to greater acceptance and implementation among producers.
“Our hope is that over the long term we will see a growing normalization and broader use of regenerative agriculture practices,” Kagan said. “This project will help increase visibility of farmers implementing these practices and help increase the willingness of others to adopt farming methods that improve our shared environment.”
Midwest Row Crop Collaborative
Administered by Environmental Initiative, the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative explores new approaches to agricultural challenges to find solutions that increase productivity while ensuring soil health, protecting water, addressing the factors contributing to climate change, and supporting farm families. Members include Bayer, Cargill, Environmental Defense Fund, Kellogg Company, Nutrien, Oatly, PepsiCo, The Nature Conservancy, Unilever, Walmart, and World Wildlife Fund.