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Ask questions about climate smart programs

The head of sustainable business with the Farmers Business Network says farmers shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions when considering participation in a new climate smart ag program.

Kurt Alles says farmers should start by asking ‘what are the requirements of the program’…

“What information do I have to submit and why do I submit it? What is this information being used for and how does it enable my participation? Understand the end market. What am I committing to?”

FBN is collecting data from farmers for Archer Daniels Midland or ADM’s new re:source program that focuses on deforestation. Alles says farmers must upload and submit field boundaries, the outline of where an individual farmer raises a crop, to a digital platform to participate.

“For farmers who only have maps from the Farm Service Agency they can get those from the FSA office and submit them. We find it’s easier for farmers to submit precision data. Farmers can link up their data from Case or John Deere directly to FBN.com.”

He says FBN follows a data privacy policy and farmers should pay attention to any contract they sign.

“In the contract we specify that in any instance, we’re sharing information that’s anonymous and aggregated with our partners to realize that value. We don’t share specific farmer information other than what’s outlined in the contract.”

He says any changes in the fields over time are measured through remote sensing and aerial imaging from satellites. Alles says in the re:source program farmers are required to update their boundaries and additional information annually.

“If you bring on new land, give up new land or fields. If you change your agronomic activities, those have to be updated in every growing season.”

Alles says farmers will know if they qualify for the program within weeks of submitting field boundaries to FBN.

Alles says climate smart agriculture programs aren’t for everyone. But…

“Being able to get additional revenue from those activities which are already good for the farm business, long-term, I think it’s a great opportunity.”

An ADM spokesperson tells Brownfield the company has developed a voluntary program intended to help U.S. farmers maintain access to the European market. For farmers who choose to participate, a premium will be offered for delivery at select locations throughout the Midwest.

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