People today are interested in their investments as it relates to environmental, social and governance issues, including sustainability.
Farmland Partners is a publicly traded company that buys and manages high-quality farmland across the country.
Farmland Partners CEO, Paul Pittman, says investing in farmland, with consideration of those issues, is a natural fit.
“The track record of American farmers and American agriculture generally is very, very positive on all those issues. You know, the farmer gets up every day and says to himself, how do I produce the maximum amount of food with the least negative environmental footprint? And they’re doing it and we’re supportive of that. And you know, we try to drive incremental change in the farmers that farm the farms we own, but we fundamentally respect the progress they’ve already made, and we just want them to continue it and keep it moving forward.”
Farmland Partners recent compiled a sustainability survey from those who farm the land the company owns. The survey asked questions about topics including the use of variable rate fertilizer, no-till operations, soil health practices and technology use.
“Overwhelmingly, the results we got back were very high scores in terms of the percentage of our farmers that are operating their farms at the sort of leading edge of modern technology when it comes to producing that food at the lowest negative environmental impact possible. I was pleasantly surprised; I thought the results would be good. They were even better than I frankly expected. And it just goes to demonstrate that the American farmer is a very good steward of the land in the context of growing food.”
The survey found 97 found of respondents invest in soil health, 94 percent practice conservation tillage and 87 percent use variable rate application technology to apply crop inputs.
Pittman says it’s important to recognize that farmers are feeding the world in a sustainable way.
“So, there’s this sort of narrative that says the American farmer is somehow not doing the right things, and we don’t believe that, we believe that the American farmer is largely doing the right things when measured in an appropriate context of the job they have to do, which is feed people. We will never back away from the point that you got to feed everyone and then to produce that food, you have to do it in the lowest negative environmental impact possible. And so, it requires a balance here.”
He adds farmers are leading the way when it comes to sustainability and climate.
“Motorboating and downhill skiing also produce greenhouse gases, but they’re just a fun recreational event. Food production producing greenhouse gases. I’m not sure it’s always fair to make kind of a direct comparison. You’ve got to think about what the industry is and what the outputs are and how necessary they are to for society when you’re making these judgments about reducing greenhouse gases in various industries. And I think as a culture, we’re doing this reasonably well everywhere, all industries, whether it’s motor boating, skiing or agriculture, are trying to lessen the footprint, and we should continue to do that, and we’re supportive of it.”
Learn more and find the survey online at farmlandpartners.com.