EDF works with farmers, companies and policymakers to build agricultural resilience by identifying and promoting financial incentives for conservation practice adoption.
Our farm finance analyses show how farmers – from corn and soy farmers in the Midwest to dairy farmers in the Northeast – realize returns on their investments in conservation.
Learn how three farmers realized positive financial returns and created value for their business partners by adopting cover crops, no-till and precision agriculture practices.
We’ve found that the value of reduced costs and risk, increased yield resilience and diversified income streams extends far beyond the farm field – benefitting farmers and their financial partners, including agricultural lenders, insurers and landowners.
EDF collaborates across the agriculture system to identify how farmers and their financial partners can quantify the value of conservation practices and incorporate that valuation into decision-making, financial products and policies.
We also identify and support federal and state policies that provide conservation incentives for farmers that maximize environmental benefits and the use of taxpayer dollars.
Our goal is to build private and public financial solutions to help farmers adopt resilient farming practices across the agricultural landscape, strengthening rural economies and communities.
The resources below include EDF reports and blogs on the financial value of agricultural conservation.
Banking on Soil Health: Farmer Interest in Transition Loan Products
Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy and Beck Ag, 2021
Opinion: Why agricultural lenders should be banking on soil health.
Conservation's impact on the farm bottom line
Environmental Defense Fund, Soil Health Partnership and K·Coe Isom, 2021
Related blog post: Farm budget analysis finds 3 ways conservation affects the bottom line.
Financing resilient agriculture: How agricultural lenders can reduce climate risk and help farmers build resilience
Environmental Defense Fund, 2020
Webinar: Watch for key findings, recommendations and Q&A.
Related blog post: 3 steps for agricultural lenders to mitigate climate risk and finance resilience.
A practitioner's guide to conducting budget analyses for on-farm conservation practices
Environmental Defense Fund, 2020
Related blog post: How can we measure the profitability of healthy soils? There's a new guide for that.
Catalytic capital and agriculture: Opportunities to invest in healthy soils, resilient farms and a stable climate
Environmental Defense Fund and Climate and Forest Capital, 2020
Related blog post: Could catalytic capital help shape the agriculture of tomorrow?
USDA blog post: USDA looks to conservation finance to deliver more working lands conservation
Farm finance and conservation: How stewardship generates value for farmers, lenders, insurers and landowners
Environmental Defense Fund and K·Coe Isom AgKnowledge, 2018
Report summary one-pager: Farm finance and conservation
Related blog post: Farmers open their books to show financial impact of conservation.
How conservation makes dairy farms more resilient, especially in a lean agricultural economy
Environmental Defense Fund and K·Coe Isom AgKnowledge, 2019
Related blog post: Four ways conservation pays for dairy farmers, even in a weak agricultural economy.
Innovative State-Led Efforts to Finance Agricultural Conservation [PDF]
Environmental Defense Fund and The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, 2019
Report summary one-pager: Innovative State-Led Efforts to Finance Agricultural Conservation [PDF].
Estimation of Financial Implications Resulting from the Implementation of Farm Conservation Practices [PDF]
Iowa Soybean Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Walton Family Foundation and Iowa-based Regional Strategic, Ltd., 2019
Related blog posts: Increasing resilience to extreme weather, Monetizing cover crops, Cover crops reduce cropping input costs, Recordkeeping is key, Role of conservation in farm transition plans.
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