June 18, 2024


ADM: Farmers achieve lower carbon emissions with new regenerative agriculture collaboration in Europe




ADM and Bayer last week announced an extension of their collaboration, working with farmers in a bid to drive the further adoption of regenerative agricultural practices in Europe.


Last year, the companies embarked on a feasibility study to evaluate the impact of regenerative agriculture practices in curbing carbon emissions, increasing biodiversity and improving soil health. They worked with oilseed rape farmers covering approximately 9,000 hectares in Poland to conduct an in-depth on-farm risk assessment that evaluated carbon emissions reduction potential while building grower-specific roadmaps for the transition to regenerative agriculture. This preliminary assessment showed that carbon emissions from those hectares relying on at least one regenerative agricultural practice were 15% lower than those of conventional farms. The analysis suggests that emissions reductions could be up to 40% for farmers comprehensively adopting regenerative agriculture practices.


As part of the next stage of the collaboration, the programme will expand into a broader range of crops such as corn, wheat and barley, and geographically across Eastern Europe.


Farmers will be provided with financial and technical support to implement qualifying regenerative agriculture practices, including:


    - Minimum tillage;


    - Cover crops;


    - Companion crops;


    - Nutrient management;


    - Use of organic matter / manure;


    - Crop rotation.


ADM will compensate participating farmers for each qualifying hectare, measured and verified using Bayer's digital capabilities in collaboration with Trinity Agtech's Sandy platform. The platform is a recognised solution backed by science that complies to the highest standards available in the market, with an easy-to-use tool for growers.


In addition to financial support, participating farmers receive agronomic guidance from specialised professionals. That support starts with a deep agronomical understanding of issues specific to each region in which the programme is taking place, followed by individualised on-farm assessments, where agronomists visit fields and, together with farmers, design development plans tailored for each farm. Farmers are able to share their experiences with one another and discuss different techniques during field visits and peer learning opportunities.


The 2023 feasibility programme was critical to shaping a larger-scale effort. Listening to the perspectives of growers was important to ensure all factors specific to the local region were considered, ADM stated. Primary data collection for greenhouse gas emission calculations and soil analysis with carbon sequestration measurement allowed the growers, ADM and Bayer to gain valuable insight into current environmental impacts and potential emission reduction opportunities as the programme expands.


"We have been practicing regenerative agriculture for 15 years. We are constantly improving things," said Karol Pietnoczka, a farmer from West Pomerania. We tested first on a smaller area and based on the results, we decided to implement it on a larger area. Thanks to these activities, our carbon footprint is lower."


"We conduct regenerative agriculture practices on the farm because it is profitable for us," said Piotr Hulanicki, a farmer from Warmia-Masuria, northeast Poland. "However, they must be well balanced with other agronomic practices to achieve farm-wide success."


Candy Siekmann, director of Climate Smart Agriculture Origination at ADM, said: "Regenerative agriculture is foundational to our leadership in sustainability and decarbonisation, and rolling out a regenerative agriculture programme in Poland is an exciting next step in our efforts. Our own research shows that a significant majority of consumers would be more likely to trust and purchase from retailers and brands that implement regenerative agriculture practices, and by coming together with great partners like Bayer, we're helping farmers – who are at the heart of our business – meet that demand.


"We're looking forward to working with Bayer to promote an economically attractive model, where business and farmers can work together to build a more resilient, sustainable supply chain with a lower carbon footprint."


Lionnel Alexandre, Carbon Business Lead (EMEA) for Bayer, said: "Developing a project with ADM in Europe on regenerative agriculture has a strong meaning for us as it showcases the importance of building a robust and committed value chain approach, where all players work for a common goal. Bayer's solution, combines digital, advanced science and agronomy capabilities, while leveraging the best experts and partners across Europe. This brings to our clients, such as ADM, the best assets to support first-in-class projects around regenerative agriculture."


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