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Eco Voice Q & A: Ben Fargher, Environmental Markets Lead at Cargill Asia Pacific.

Eco Voice
Eco Voicehttps://www.ecovoice.com.au/
First published in 2003, Eco Voice is your go-to publication for sustainability news in Australia. Eco Voice prides itself as an independent news platform with a clear focus on sustainability, with articles coming from a diverse range of contributors – all levels of government, corporations, not-for-profits, community groups, small to medium sized businesses, universities, research organisations, together with input from international sources. Eco Voice values community, conservation and commerce. Eco Voice is a media partner of the prestigious Australian Banksia Sustainability Awards – The Peak Sustainability Awards.

Ben Fargher is Environmental Markets Lead at Cargill Asia Pacific

Background

Ben Fargher is Environmental Markets Lead at Cargill Asia Pacific. In this role he is responsible for a customer focused sustainability portfolio including carbon and water projects.

Ben was previously the General Manager of Operations for a publicly listed cotton and grain agribusiness and was previously the CEO of the national farm lobby group in Australia, the National Farmers’ Federation. Ben grew up on a farm in Australia and has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Adelaide and a Masters degree in Economics from the University of New England.

To provide insights into Sustainable Agriculture, Tim Langdon, publisher of Eco Voice, had the pleasure of facilitating a Q & A with Ben Fargher, Environmental Markets Lead at Cargill Asia Pacific.

Q1. What is Sustainable Agriculture?

Agriculture is one of the most extensive economic activities and helping to make all aspects of agriculture more sustainable will be an essential part of ensuring that we can continue nourishing future generations across the world. This includes more efficient production, more precise farm practices to grow the crops we eat and improved livelihoods for the millions of people who make a living from agriculture worldwide.

Agriculture has a unique opportunity to utilise sustainable agricultural practices to address the global climate challenge and better the economic prospects for farmers who are at the forefront of our global food system. Changes made at the grassroots of our supply chains can deliver a significant impact in reducing emissions and building the resilience of our soils for the next generation. Cargill is actively working with canola growers to lead the way, supporting them with tools, resources – and importantly, market access – to make the shift to sustainable agriculture. 

Q2. Why is Sustainable Agriculture important?

As our climate continues to change, it’s becoming increasingly clear that our food system needs to change along with it. Climate change is causing more frequent and severe weather events, shifting growing seasons and declining soil health. We believe transformation must start where the food system begins – at the farm. Sustainable agriculture practices have the power to sequester greenhouse gas emissions, improve water quality and build up healthy soil for the next generation.

At Cargill, our vision is to make sustainable agriculture commonplace across our supply chains – helping farmers produce food more sustainably while increasingly their profitability and resiliency and are working to scale up the adoption of sustainable agriculture by supporting farmers in their transition.  

Q3How does Sustainable Agriculture help farmers and the environment?

Sustainable agriculture programs such as Cargill SustainConnect help to open new revenue streams for growers and cater to rising demand from domestic and international customers, in this case, for sustainable Australian canola oil. Important programs such as this offer benefits to growers and farmers by:

    • Helping growers to implement their chosen interventions and sharing data from their activities
    • Growers receive a guaranteed $25/Ha, subject to practices being implemented in compliance with the one-year agreement, with total compensation based on the total hectares the grower enrolls in the program
    • Validating the interventions, via Regrown
    • Growers receive payment for the interventions and access to opportunities in environmental markets and sustainable supply chains, while opening doors to Cargill’s downstream customers, who are counting on agricultural supply chains to achieve their sustainability goals

Q4. How big is Sustainable Agriculture in Australia?

Cargill has been enrolling Australia canola growers in Cargill SustainConnect, a new sustainable agriculture program including several nutrient management interventions, reduced or no-tillage and crop residue retention. The program is currently available to Australian canola farmers in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria and Cargill is looking to extend this program into Western Australia in the future.

The business is also looking to expand the Cargill SustainConnect program to grains in the future, with the first barley pilots currently underway.

Q5What specific programs does Cargill offer to assist farmers to become more sustainable?

Growers have told us they are looking for sustainability program that offer simplicity, transparency, and flexibility to suit their specific operations. We’ve taken this feedback and designed Cargill SustainConnect to address these needs, and it has been very well received.

Cargill SustainConnect builds on Cargill’s global efforts to make sustainable farming programs commonplace across its global supply chains, which includes the award-winning Cargill RegenConnect program in North America and Europe. Cargill is committed to partnering with farmers to support an economically viable transition to sustainable agriculture. 

Q6.  How important is collaboration in moving to more Sustainable Agriculture practices in Australia?

Cargill has partnered with leading carbon measurement business Regrow to measure, report and verify (MRV) carbon outcomes using in-field data, remote sensing and crop and soil health modelling. The Regrow platform ensures easy enrolment and secure data collection, while providing growers and Cargill’s demand customers with transparent measurement and verification options.

The partnership, in support of Australian canola farmers, will support producers in sustainable farming practice adoption, building greater resilience in their operations and gaining access to sustainability markets whilst assuring supply for generations to come.

Q7. How can publications, such as Eco Voice, play their part in promoting Sustainable Agriculture?

It’s great to see publications such as Eco Voice shining a spotlight on the need for sustainable agriculture and programs and initiatives that are being implemented and helping increase awareness. This is the first step towards making tangible change within this space. Greater discussion about sustainable agriculture will help to drive deeper awareness of new and emerging practices, ultimately helping farmers to mitigate and adapt to climate change while continuing to produce food for a growing global population.

 

ABOUT ECO VOICE

First published in 2003, Eco Voice is your go-to publication for sustainability news in Australia. Eco Voice prides itself as an independent news platform with a clear focus on sustainability, with articles coming from a diverse range of contributors – all levels of government, corporations, not-for-profits, community groups, small to medium sized businesses, universities, research organisations, together with input from international sources. Eco Voice values community, conservation and commerce. Eco Voice is a media partner of the prestigious Australian Banksia Sustainability Awards – The Peak Sustainability Awards.

ABOUT CARGILL

Cargill helps the world’s food system work for you. The business connects farmers with markets, customers with ingredients and families with daily essentials – from the foods they eat to the floors they walk on. Its 160,000-plus team members around the world innovate with purpose, empowering partners and communities as Cargill works to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.

From feed that reduces methane emissions to waste-based renewable fuels, the possibilities are boundless. But, Cargill’s values remain the same – putting people first, reaching higher and doing the right thing. It’s how the business has met the needs of the people we call neighbours and the planet we call home for 158 years – and how it will continue to do so for generations to come.

 

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