Measuring Regenerative Agriculture's Impact
As you know Regenerative Agriculture is up there with saving the world for us Dirty Regenerates. We know in theory it’s an important solution to climate change but how do our farmers measure this to show the true benefits above and below ground?
Enter Craig Pensini. Craig has recently joined Dirty Clean Food in the role of Impact Coordinator to support us and our farmer suppliers in measuring natural capital.
Natural Capital includes the soil health of the farm, carbon drawdown, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle and reducing waste. It is one of the 4 Returns, we as a company deliver on – the other three are financial, social and inspiration.
We believe it is vital to measure our impact on the planet in order for us to reinvent the food and farming system.
You’d be right in thinking Craig’s surname sounds familiar. Craig is Warren’s big brother. For those who haven’t met Warren before, he’s one of our original beef farmers from Blackwood Valley Beef and also our Livestock Operations Manager.
Growing up on a farm both brothers developed a love of agriculture. Craig left the farm to study a Bachelor of Business and Post Grad in Agribusiness at Muresk and has spent much of his working life on farm and with a multi-national crop protection company. Most recently he worked with local carbon farming company Carbon Sync bringing his practical farming knowledge & agribusiness relationships together with their scientific expertise in carbon farming soil methodology.
We caught up to learn more about his role with Dirty Clean Food and Wide Open Agriculture.
So, Craig what attracted you to working with us – apart from the opportunity to work with Warren of course?
Right from first hearing about Wide Open I was very interested in your approach to agribusiness. The stock exchange listing and creation of Dirty Clean Food was the evolution that excited me most. I was hearing about all these different business streams to end users like digital, food services, retail for core food staples such as meat, eggs and oat products and I thought this is different to anything else I was aware of.
You’ve been involved in finding ways for our farmer suppliers to measure their natural capital.
That’s right. After much research, we’ve built a suite of tools to support the company and our farmer suppliers to make informed management decisions as part of a regenerative farming system. This includes measuring soil organic carbon, carbon neutrality, carbon emissions across the value chain, carbon in a natural capital system, biodiversity and the water cycle.
Can you tell us a little about the tools you’re using to measure our natural capital?
Natural Capital Accounting is just one aspect we will be investigating which not only measures traditional accounting for our farmers but also their natural inputs and outputs such as biodiversity, water and ability to capture carbon. This will help them to put a financial value on their work in regenerative agriculture.
We’re also working with Downforce Technology on a pilot study to calculating organic soil carbon accurately on farm through remote sensing. Thanks to this satellite technology we’re able to map the farmer’s properties going back five years and look at specific regen practices such as planting a multi species crop to determine how much carbon is sequestered into the soil.
I’ll be visiting our farmer suppliers to help implement these tools on farm and can share with you our progress. It really will be a game changer.
When you’re not working what do you like to do?
I'm passionate about growing grapes and making wine. This is my hobby and “wind down” activity. I have about half a hectare of vines with Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon & Sauvignon Blanc.
I also make fortified wines including Port and liquor, such as Limoncello, Cumquat liqueur and Gin.
(Note from editor: Next team get together is at Craigs!!!)
And where is your favourite holiday destination?
Pretty much anywhere in Italy - it’s in the genes. Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Amalfi coast, Bolzano & the Dolomites.. the list goes on.
Keep an eye on our Unearthing Regenerative Agriculture blogs for Christie and Craig’s updates following their visits to our farmer suppliers.