Farmers under pressure to transition to climate and freshwater-friendly farming practices can access farm advisors and financial support from the Calm The Farm marketplace, launched in March by Toha Foundry Ltd.
Calm The Farm is developing new financial products and connecting farmers with advisors and impact investors keen to accelerate New Zealand farming’s shift to regenerative agriculture, known as regen ag.
For the last two years the Calm The Farm team has been working with farmers, regenerative agriculture advisors and scientists, to understand regen agriculture practices and how data can unlock impact investment and speed up the transition to more sustainable farming.
“Farmers have told us they want their social licence back,” says Mike Taitoko, who is co-founder of Toha Foundry Ltd and acting chief executive of Calm The Farm.
“Calm The Farm wants to support farmers to build resilience into their businesses by improving the health of the soil, water, animals, the economics and, ultimately, the wellbeing of our farmers.”
Emerging scientific evidence shows regenerative agriculture farming to be better for the environment and climate. Regenerative agriculture practices are able to enhance carbon sequestration, reduce soil erosion, restore biodiversity, replenish soil nutrients, and increase soil water retention and fertility. Such practices also minimise the leaching of excess nutrients into waterways, thereby improving freshwater quality.
“We are seeing an increasing sense of urgency to act now on climate and freshwater. Globally, impact investors are leaning in to support farmers to make the move to regenerative agriculture,” says Mike.
“Calm The Farm’s impact measurement and verification framework creates confidence and trust between farmers and investors, by proving actions and tracking outcomes.”
Data that proves actions and outcomes is the key to unlocking global impact investment funds. Through Calm The Farm, investors can track and monitor the environmental impact of their investment. Farmers can request investment to support their regenerative agriculture journey – from capital infrastructure costs all the way through to incentives that encourage collective efforts towards a cleaner river catchment.
The new venture’s platform helps farmers co-ordinate their on-farm data to measure changes in soil health, ecosystem and animal health and productivity as a result of new practices. Calm The Farm uses the latest tools and technologies to measure the long-term impacts of regenerative agriculture for waterways and climate, says Mike.
Greg Barclay, the first regenerative agriculture advisor to partner with Calm The Farm, says he sees first-hand the difference in the land and animals. “But crucially, regenerative agriculture also makes good business sense. Calm The Farm is showing it’s possible to improve the environment and the books at the same time.”
With impact investment matched to individual farms transitioning inside of priority catchments for cleaner freshwater, Greg expects his clients to tackle their transition faster with greater confidence.
“The methods I’ve developed over time see my clients making this shift within cash flows, but gradually as their operating margins allow. A channel for support and investment to accelerate the work on the farm means we can transition more of the farm faster.”
Facing one of the driest summers on record, farmers are asking for urgency and practical solutions, says Mike. “Big climatic events are only going to get worse and we know that regenerative agriculture is a way to build resilience back into the farm.”
The Calm The Farm team is now focused on ensuring the footprint of regenerative agriculture scales up as quickly as possible.
Farmers, investors and advisors wanting to find out how to benefit from Calm The Farm can register their interest at: https://www.calmthefarm.nz/take-action