Innovation Groundbreakers

Why More of America’s High-Tech Growers Are Pivoting to Regenerative Farming

Farmer with tablet

By Brian Naber, President, Bayer Crop Science North America & Australia/New Zealand Region


Farming, unlike any other industry, hangs its success on weather, environmental pressures and the fluctuations of yields, prices and commodity markets. To mitigate these risks, boost production, secure incomes and protect natural resources, North American farmers have long-adopted soil conservation methods and embraced scientific and technological breakthroughs – but their efforts are constantly put to the test. 

Hedging against a more volatile future

There is mounting evidence that climate change is leading to more erratic weather patterns and higher costs. In recent years, farmers across North America have had to contend with record-breaking temperatures, drought, and other severe weather events.

In fact, many farmers will tell you that that they’re seeing these extreme weather conditions more often. And they’re the ones at the forefront of this reality, with it impacting their ability to produce, their bottom lines and livelihoods.

According to the most recent Farmer Voice survey, half of respondents in the U.S. stated that climate change already had a large impact on their farm, and 57% admitted they were worried about its future impacts. As one U.S. farmer put it, “The weather is definitely a constant battle, as it has been inconsistent the past few years as far as length of seasons and varying temperatures are concerned.”

As America’s farmers look for ways to hedge against a more volatile future and remain profitable, a growing number of them are beginning to consider regenerative agriculture as a sustainable and commercially viable option. The appeal of regenerative farming is that it aims to first improve soil health, thereby helping increase yields and enabling farmers to benefit economically. Farmers know that this can only be achieved by openly embracing science and technology.

Farmer with Phone

Breaking new ground with digital solutions and integrated regenerative systems

In the U.S. today, farmers have access to the world’s most advanced innovations in plant breeding, plant biotechnology, crop protection and digital technology, thanks to cutting-edge public research and a homegrown private industry dedicated to research and development. Combining innovations like these in a functioning system of solutions is key to unlocking the long-term outcomes of regenerative farming and providing additional financial opportunities for farmers through downstream food value chain incentives.

Kelly Nieuwenhuis, Tom Feldman and Adam Rahe, three growers from Iowa, have successfully adopted a system approach to help them make more informed decisions and help maximize their investment through the Preceon Smart Corn System. We like to say that this system P.A.Y.S.S. farmers back its benefits by delivering:


  • Protection from crop loss due to increased lodging and greensnap, which is important in regions prone to windstorms and derechos like we’ve experienced recently in the U.S.
  • Access all-season long so farmers can apply fertilizer and crop protection products more efficiently and precisely with their standard ground equipment. 
  • Yield potential since the hybrids can be planted in greater density with placement recommendations powered by FieldView – our digital arm – along with tailored hands-on support provided by local agronomic experts.
  • Silage value expected to be seen from improved quality and tonnage.
  • Sustainability potential for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and opportunities for carbon sequestration.


Regenerative agriculture: a cost-benefit analysis

The example of Kelly, Tom and Adam is just one of many showcasing positive outcomes of regenerative agricultural practices. There is emerging data about its effectiveness, particularly how it contributes to better soil quality. Over time, regenerative practices like cover cropping and no-till can improve soil organic carbon and bulk density, two key components of soil health. Early results from field trials of corn and soy rotations in the Midwest have shown measurable improvements within just three years of adopting regenerative practices. This has contributed to lower greenhouse gas emissions, while yields and profitability remained stable.


Aside from such productivity gains, there is additional potential for long-term value creation. This is because the environmental benefits delivered through regenerative farming systems – healthier soils, lower emissions, greater biodiversity, water conservation – constitute ecosystem services that carry real economic value. Their price tag should give farmers who deliver them a new source of revenue, for example by participating in a carbon program and receiving payments for the amount of carbon sequestered. 


Our ForGround by Bayer platform in the U.S. supports growers in adopting and expanding regenerative ag practices. In fact, farmers can earn up to $16 per acre for adopting cover crops, reduced tillage, and nitrogen efficiency methods.


Faced with greater uncertainty in the future, regenerative agriculture is a way to make farming more efficient, resilient and ultimately more profitable for farmers. 

It’s true that the transition to a regenerative future is a long-term vision. But every journey begins with a single step. In this one, data is everything and digital technology is key – both to provide reliable proof points and enable the desired outcomes. The Preceon Smart Corn system is a case in point. If adopted more widely, it could transform global corn production – delivering key outcomes like higher yields, healthier soils and improved livelihoods in a more volatile future.

Brian Naber_Portrait
Brian Naber
President, Bayer Crop Science North America & Australia/New Zealand Region
4 min read