The traditional landscape of farmland ownership and financing in the United States thwarts the adoption of regenerative agriculture. First, farmland is expensive. Farm real estate prices have doubled in the last decade. But models have emerged to power regenerative practices forward. These include concessionary capital, financing from real estate investment trusts, and dollars from larger investors who treat farmland as a hedge to other asset classes.
Across the political spectrum, most Americans have favorable opinions of farmers and are happy with the idea that the federal government provides financial assistance to help pay for crop insurance. If they knew crop insurance's full cost, that might change. This system, while well-intentioned, leaves out the majority of farmers and encourages the degradation of precious soil and water reserves by rewarding consolidated monoculture crop production.
Financial modeling is an emerging application for land trusts. It could make a great difference in their ability to forecast and plan for various future financial scenarios. At this year’s Land Trust Alliance Rally conference during the “Your Future: Financial Modeling for Long-Term Stability” workshop, the Dutchess Land Conservancy of Dutchess County, N.Y., presented a financial model it developed.
Bordered by beautiful wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana is a hub of transportation and industry. A pilot environmental impact bond could seed a set of wetland-restoration projects for the state. Environmental Defense Fund, Quantified Ventures, and their project partners are proposing to draw on funding from the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill settlement to make this happen.
Greenprint Partners is field-testing a green infrastructure-financing approach that could help make communities healthier and safer in a small group of Rust Belt cities. In an interview, Nicole Chavas, the company’s CEO and cofounder, and Rose Jordan, its marketing director, said the models have expansion potential. If adopted on a larger scale, they could improve the quality of life in many low-to-moderate-income urban neighborhoods.