Improving Tools to Catalyze Investment in Sustainable Agricultural Lands and Practices


Brief Overview of What We’re Doing

Improving Tools to Catalyze Investment in Sustainable Agricultural Lands and Practices by Creating Metrics for Environmental Outcomes of Farm-Scale Management Practices, an innovative report co-written by Delta and Farmland LP, focused on creating evaluation and assessment mechanisms to model the economic and environmental benefits of different scenarios to transition traditional commodity agricultural land to diverse, sustainable production models. This project had three main objectives; 1) quantify the ecological benefits of sustainable agricultural management; 2) translate the ecological benefits into financial values for investors; and 3) utilize the outputs to catalyze investment in assets managed for ecological and financial values.

The report shows double bottom line return of 7.3% annual ecosystem gain on top of 10.5% annualized net economic gain for investors and summarizes the social and environmental impacts of Farmland LP’s investment management practices. Farmland LP buys and converts conventionally farmed land to certified organic farmland using regenerative farm management methods, to generate competitive financial returns and achieve positive environmental and social impacts.

The USDA funded a $260,398 study for the partners to generate a new, more comprehensive form of impact reporting for agriculture, encompassing biophysical and, for the first time, ecosystem service value metrics. The results illustrate the profound impact of management practices on the ecosystem service value provided by farms. The grant’s objective sought to quantify the ecological benefits of Farmland LP’s regenerative agriculture practices using peer-reviewed literature from a wide range of ecosystem services and a greenhouse gas accounting tool applied on a field-by-field basis. To generate real-world results, Earth Economics expanded its Ecosystem Valuation Toolkit to include agricultural land use practices specific to Farmland LP while Delta Institute populated and ran the USDA COMET-Farm tool with over a decade of detailed management practices.

Learnings from this project have informed our many Soil Health and Land Valuation efforts that are operating throughout the Midwest today.


We are grateful to Farmland LP for their partnership, and to Earth Economics.


This report and project was funded by a USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant.

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