Farmers Business Network has launched a new farm operating line of credit that incentivizes farmers who implement regenerative ag practices.
Dan English, general manager of FBN Finance, says the FBN Regenerative Agriculture Finance Fund (RAFF) is one of the first U.S. agricultural financing programs to reward farmers who meet soil health and nitrogen efficiency standards through access to lower rates and fees, as well as agronomic insights to optimize the on-farm benefits of regenerative practices.
“We announced a $25 million fund today for farmers who are engaged in regenerative practices. As an incentive for them, they will get a half of a percentage point off their operating line in the form of a rebate if they adhere to certain environmental and sustainability practices. This is a great way for farmers to get paid for the activities they are already taking, or adjust their operations a little bit, to make even more money on their operation this year.”
To qualify, farmers must meet environmental eligibility requirements developed by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and backed by peer-reviewed scientific research, including nitrogen management and soil conservation standards.
“We are taking a very open-minded approach to this, but really each farmer we work with is going to need to meet three things. One is having efficient use of their nitrogen within a score that we use. The number two piece is having some type of soil conservation practice – minimum tillage, cover crops, buffer zones or whatever is appropriate for their farm. And then number three is participating in soil sampling to develop their nutrition program.”
The $25 million pilot fund is currently enrolling 30-40 farmers growing a combination of corn, soybeans and/or wheat who will each receive one-year lines of credit of up to $5 million. The RAFF will originate loans from a diversity of farmers, including FBN’s network of more than 33,000 members, and provide underwriting and monitoring for the portfolio at a discounted rate.
Visit the Environmental Defense Fund’s website to learn more.