Jan 29, 2020
Danone, rePlant Capital to finance growers going organic
Food and beverage conglomerate Danone North America Jan. 29 announced a partnership with rePlant Capital that will finance farms’ conversion from conventional to organic or “regenerative” agriculture.
In coming years, rePlant will invest up to $20 million dollars to support Danone North America’s farmer partners with expenses related to converting to regenerative or organic farming practices. The new practices will increase biodiversity, enhance ecosystems and enrich soil with a goal of addressing climate change.
Danone is consistently pursuing new models of working with farmers to incentivize the adoption of new, sustainable farm management practices. One example of this is by maintaining long-term contracts with dairies to help alleviate short-term market volatility, thus allowing them to consider new ways of farming — and in 2018 committed to investing $6 million in soil health research over five years.
“Providing these loans mitigates the financial stress that transitioning to regenerative and organic farming practices places on our farmers and allows them to focus their energy on driving sustainable agriculture on their farms,” said Mariano Lozano, CEO of Danone North America.
The first of these loans has been provided to Kansas-based McCarty Family Farms, a partner of Danone North America for almost 10 years and co-owner of MVP dairy, LLC, winner of the International Dairy Foods Association 2020 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year award.
McCarty family farm owners and fourth-generation dairy farmers Mike, Clay, David and Ken McCarty will use the loan to install moisture probes on cropland surrounding their dairy, where water access issues are of concern, to reduce the amount of water used on crops that provide forage for the dairy cows. In addition to reducing water usage on their own farm, McCarty Family Farms is working with their local feed partnerships as well as the local watershed authority to see how this program may be expanded to other farms in the region to improve water consumption and aquifer longevity within the Ogallala aquifer.
“Our livelihood depends on the health of our natural resources,” said Ken McCarty of McCarty Family Farms and MVP Dairy LLC. “We’ve always made caring for our land, air and water a top priority, so we are excited to receive the rePlant loan to help us continue to reduce water consumption on our farms and make a real impact in water conservation efforts in northwest Kansas.”