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With our food systems coming under pressure from challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and water availability, the world’s ability to meet growing food demand will become more difficult and could lead to an increase in global hunger.
To mitigate the impact of these challenges, the agriculture sector will need to adapt to produce more food, fiber, and fuel to sustain a growing population while using fewer resources and becoming more resilient.
Thanks to key technological innovations and modern practices over the last several decades, farmers can today produce more food and fiber on fewer acres and with fewer nutrient inputs than ever before. But looking to the future, we must work together to create agricultural systems that help farmers adapt to climate change and run a commercially viable business, while at the same time protecting our planet, limiting the expansion of farmland and renewing Earth’s natural ecosystems.
The way forward is to radically transform today’s farming systems and switch to regenerative agriculture practices that “produce more with less, while restoring more.”
Regenerative agriculture practices can play a key role in transforming global agriculture systems as we face the challenges of climate change and food security. Today, however, there is no commonly agreed definition of regenerative agriculture.
For Bayer, regenerative agriculture is an outcome-based production model, which mainly has improving soil health at its core and strengthening resilience as a key objective. Other principal aims include mitigating climate change through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon removals, maintaining or restoring biodiversity, conserving water resources, as well as increasing yields and improving the economic and social well-being of farmers and their communities.
Put simply, regenerative agriculture aims to increase production with fewer inputs while leaving more of our natural world intact. The goal is to allow farmers to benefit from higher yields, higher incomes and improved livelihoods and nature to recover and thrive.
At Bayer, we’re only at the beginning of the journey toward a sustainable future in farming, but we see huge potential to scale up regenerative practices on farms around the world, whether big or small.
As a key point of departure, we’re taking a system approach to regenerative agriculture. This means we’re increasingly treating each farm as an ecosystem in itself, with its unique soil and environmental conditions. With this information, we can provide farmers with a tailored but comprehensive farm solution combining innovations in seeds and traits, crop protection and digital technology.
With our global reach, we’re working with partners around the world to help more farmers adopt regenerative farming practices in the coming years. As part of these efforts, we’re already offering farmers modular, rotational cropping systems for selected crops across different regions of the world that are adaptable to the needs of each farm.
In addition, we have a range of different agriculture innovations available in our portfolio that can serve as key building blocks of any regenerative farming system.
We are committed to leading the future of regenerative agriculture by:
- minimizing the climate footprint of farming
- reducing the environmental impact of crop protection
- enabling smallholder farmers
- improving water use
At the same time, we’re aiming to deliver net benefits to nature that are measured in terms of better soil health, restored biodiversity, reduced water use and sequestered carbon.
And we’re doing so while supporting farmers in their efforts to increase agricultural yields, farm productivity and incomes with effective climate adaptation solutions and new sources of revenue.
By aligning and supporting these key principles, we can achieve the following benefits.
We’re constantly looking for ways to create commercial value for the grower in all aspects of the farm as well as measurable benefits for the environment. We see no trade-off between sustainability and growth, but in fact see huge potential in generating value for farmers and nature with our agriculture innovations.
While we are only at the beginning of unlocking the full potential of a system approach, we believe we have some key offerings in our current solution portfolio that have the potential to shape the regenerative future in agriculture in the coming years.
Bayer is strongly positioned to provide farmers with an entire system of agriculture solutions as part of our offering. In the past we have looked at our solutions as pillars – seeds & traits, crop protection and digital technology – but the challenge of modern agriculture underscores the need for us to look at all three not as distinct offerings but as part of one holistic solution.
By bringing together these platforms, which we have under one roof, we can deliver agriculture solutions that, when combined, have the potential to increase agricultural yields, create commercial value for farmers and generate positive outcomes for nature.
For farmers, Bayer’s system approach aims to create long-term value by helping to future-proof farming operations and make them more climate-resilient. It opens new opportunities for farmers to meet future expectations at a time of uncertainty and change. For example, it can help farmers tap into new sources of revenue, such as receiving payments for carbon sequestered, and has the potential to help them grow their business in compliance with stringent new climate regulations.
In addition, a digitally-enabled, system-wide approach to regenerative agriculture enables traceability in the food chain. It helps connect what is happening on the farm to consumers who are demanding and buying food with new expectations.