Renewable Farming

Ten big food processors and retailers organize an “Ecosystem Market” movement

“The planned market offers the singular focus of enabling and encouraging farmers and ranchers to adopt and sustain conservation management practices to improve soil health, reduce GHG emissions, and improve related water quality and reduce water use.”

March 18, 2019 — That’s the main description of a new consortium’s intent to put a green face on their food sourcing over the next several years. You can read the PR Newswire feed at this link. 

The announcement hints at possible payments to farmers who take part in measures to improve soil health. Hopefully the consortium will expand its goals to include clear-cut efforts to pay premiums for measurable nutritional quality, now that technology is making that more feasible through the food processing chain. 

We sense that these food giants have been watching how classic food brands like Heinz, Kraft and Campbell failed to focus enough attention on rising consumer demands for fresh, wholesome foods. Even investment guru Warren Buffet didn’t see how powerful this megatrend is becoming. From reports in the Wall Street Journal:

“An unexpected write-down at Kraft Heinz demonstrates that even Warren Buffett’s long-successful investment philosophy is vulnerable to sudden shifts in consumer taste.”

“When Buffett’s billions enabled the 2015 merger of H.J Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group Inc., Buffett described it as “…my kind of transaction, uniting two world-class organizations and delivering shareholder value.” Buffett’s firm, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 27% of Kraft Heinz.”

Feature-length Wall Street Journal stories the past few days point to the major oversight of Buffett and leaders of the firms in which he invested. They “failed to see the speed of the decline in consumer interest in legacy food brands. Americans now want to buy healthier items, focusing on natural and organic ingredients.

Mitch Hora, consultant

We’ve focused on this trend for years! We’ve urged growers to break out from their locked-in GMO/glyphosate/Liberty corn-soybean formulas. Quite a few are starting to learn non-GMO systems; even begin phasing some acres into organic. Advancing weed-control technologies are making such programs more practical.

Dr. Michael McNeill










Last Thursday, March 14, the crop consultant we consider the “dean” of Midwest consultants, Dr. Michael McNeill, described how he’s helping many farmers transition into nutrition-oriented, quality-assured organic production. Every one of the presenters at the “Show Me The Money” seminar in Ames are leaders in biological crop production, aimed at high-quality, toxin-free crops. 

We’ll be sifting and publishing nuggets from these presentations for the next several days. in fact it was a soils consultant, Mitch Hora, who brought the Ecosystem Market Services Program to farmers’ attention.