Johnston’s Regenerative

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Through this new division we plan to go on a journey down the regenerative farming path. We’re not 100% certain where this path will take us, but we do have some goals in mind. After adding some new team members and speaking with several farmers that are having success with regenerative farming, we’re excited to embark on this adventure.

NOTE: This will not change any of the services that we currently offer through Johnston’s Grain.

To clarify what Johnston’s Regenerative will be seeking to accomplish, we believe that it’s important to define: What is Regenerative Farming?

We will comment more on the principles and practices of Regenerative Farming in future articles, but we will summarize them today by stating:

Regenerative Farming is focused on producing healthier foods and healthier soils through a reduction in fertility rates and pesticide usage, and a cessation of the use of insecticides, fungicides, and pre-harvest glyphosate.

Regenerative farmers believe (and have demonstrated in many cases) that there is away to accomplish the lofty goals laid out above, on Western Canadian farms, without decreasing yields and without hurting profit margins.

Phase I of Johnston’s Regenerative will be the development of the Johnston’s Regenerative Weekly. This weekly email will be promoted on the Johnston’s Daily and will go in-depth into the practices of regenerative farming. We will be interviewing farmers that are already finding success through using regenerative practices and technologies.

We will be promoting these practices and technologies and discussing how other farms can start to implement them. We hope that this email we become a how-to guide for farmers that are interested in taking the plunge into the regenerative farming sphere. These ideas may sound complicated, maybe even crazy to begin with, but with proper explanation we believe that we can simplify them and make the challenges of regenerative farming less daunting.

We believe that we can use the knowledge of Regenerative Farming pioneers to help other farmers interested in implementing these practices, to avoid the webs that they got tangled in on their adventures.

Phase II of Johnston’s Regenerative will be the development of protocols for Western Canadian farmers to reach Johnston’s Regenerative Farm status. After consultations with food manufacturers and food retailers, we are certain that there is consumer demand for Regeneratively Farmed food products in certain markets in the USA, Canada, and Europe.

Currently, there are constraints to these types of food lines being created by large food companies. The main constraint is a shortage of Regeneratively Farmed grain to support the creation of new product lines. However, with regenerative farming growing rapidly in North America, we believe that we can push food manufacturers to create and package regenerative products and we believe that regenerative farmers will be paid a premium, on a broad basket of products, in the near future. We are already seeing some demand for regeneratively grown wheat from the 2024 harvest.

Phase III of Johnston’s Regenerative will be the development of a regenerative crop input catalogue that will help farmers to meet the goals of fertility reduction, pesticide usage reduction, and cessation of the use of insecticides, fungicides, and pre-harvest glyphosate. We know that there are products out there that can effectively allow farmers to meet these goals. We view it as our job to introduce these products to the market at a price that will make the uptake of these products economically viable.

Phase IV of Johnston’s Regenerative will be implementing a carbon credit program for farmers that are willing to make ‘Changes of Practice’ that make their farms more carbon efficient. We are seeking (and believe that we have found) technologies that will provide a durable carbon credit that will allow farmers to be paid for sequestering carbon.

The carbon project begins with a farm letting us know that they are willing to make a change in practice to enter the carbon credit program. There are many changes of practice that will qualify the farm. The second step is to get a carbon measurement of the soil on the farm. The third step requires reporting of farm practices (fertility rates, pesticide usage, fuel consumption, etc) that allow our partners to apply a CI (Carbon Intensity) score to the farm. Our partners make an estimate of how much carbon can be sequestered and how many credits will be minted. The farm is paid ‘some’ of these carbon credits on an annual basis. After three years, the carbon % in the soil is measured again and the full amount of carbon credits are calculated and minted. The farmer is then paid and given the option to sign up for the program again.

We believe that the technology for Phase I through Phase IV of the Johnston’s Regenerative program is available now. We believe that we can make your farm more efficient and higher margining – even without regen grain marketing premiums and carbon credits. However, we believe that we can make your farm significantly higher margining by adding these additional revenue streams.

We want to make it very clear that we are not eco-crusaders, and we have no interest in the government mandating policies on Western Canadian farms. In fact, we are opposed to almost all edicts rained down from the Federal and Provincial governments that would dictate what you are allowed to do with your farming operation. We have fought righteously for marketing freedom for farmers, and we will fight for your freedom to farm your land the best way that you see fit. We aim to win your participation in our program through a profit mechanism. We aim to see true capitalism at work.

We also want to make it very clear that we are not here to condescend anybody about their current farming practices. We are here to invite our clients to explore new practices and technologies that we believe offer a pathway to healthier foods, healthier soils, and healthier bank accounts.

If this sounds interesting to you, please sign up for the Johnston’s Regenerative Weekly and join us on this exciting journey.