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Transition Financing for Regenerative Agriculture Systems

Year Awarded: 2020
Awarded: $1,187,000
Team Leader:  Cornell University

This project will expand and accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices across the Great Lakes basin by designing and developing transition loan products and supporting services that will facilitate farmers’ transitions from conventional agriculture to regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture systems that minimize soil disturbance, maximize crop diversity, keep the soil covered, maintain root structure, and integrate livestock have been shown to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff from farms. However, a variety of obstacles exist to adopting these practices that require farmers to face new financial uncertainty, obtain new knowledge, invest more time, and procure new equipment.

The project team, led by Cornell University, will engage agricultural lenders, farmers, landowners, and other stakeholders across the Great Lakes basin. The transition loan products created will be standardized, reliably and simply underwritten, and competitive with other agriculture lending products. The work will initially take place in the Lake Ontario watershed in New York state, which offers a cross-section of farm types including crops, livestock, vineyards, and vegetables. This will be valuable in developing alternative financial solutions that are attractive to farmers with different types of operations across the Great Lakes basin.