There is a lot of buzz, especially in midwest row crops, about regenerative agriculture. In other words, a system that not only produces plenty of food, but builds healthier soils over time and provides other ecosystem services. But is this possible in farming fresh produce crops? The answer is likely yes, but we still have a ways to go to fully figuring out how, says the Produce Marketing Association’s Vonnie Estes.
Estes… “I think there's this sense that everyone's got this figured out, like everyone's getting paid for their carbon and it's all this system that's worked out. And, and it's not yet.”
Estes is the vice president of technology for PMA. She says there is a lot of promise, but it will take time to develop the right systems to make it more accessible to growers.
Estes… “There's a lot of people who are developing tools, but what we don't have is a system. And so really figuring out what is the system all the way from: how do you measure how much carbon is in the soil now, what practices are you doing to increase the carbon and how do you measure that, and for how many years, you know, and what are your practices that you're not going to release the carbon back into the air. All the way to: who gets that credit, who markets that credit, who pays for that credit. And I think there's a great opportunity in the produce industry because there's a lot of carbon in the soil and there's a lot of practices that they're already doing. It's just kind of figuring it out, but we're just trying to figure it out.”
She hosts a podcast about technology in produce called “PMA Takes on Tech” which can be found on any podcast platform.