Johnston, IA — Growers Edge Financial, Inc. (Growers Edge), which provides data-driven fintech solutions for the ag industry, has announced the addition of innovative soil health improvement solutions in partnership with Delta Institute. The companies are working together to create financial products that provide new capital opportunities for farmers who need to rebuild soil capacity.

Maintaining soil health has not been enough of an agricultural priority to date, and the majority of the world’s soil resources are in fair, poor or very poor condition according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In fact, soil erodes 10 times faster than it is able to be naturally replenished in the United States – an estimated rate of nearly 1.7 billion tons of lost farmland annually, based on a Cornell study. Meanwhile, the USDA estimates the total annual cost of erosion from agriculture in the United States at $44 billion – approximately $247 per acre of cropland and pasture. On a global scale, the annual loss of 75 billion tons of soil could cost the world up to $400 billion per year.

“Fields that are dying or dead cannot answer our escalating food production needs. The degradation of soils across U.S. farmlands puts our farms, our food and our future at risk,” said David LeZaks, Ph.D., regenerative food systems lead at Delta Institute. “We are eager to help farmers overcome the soil health hurdle with the new financial solutions from Growers Edge, beginning with farms in the Midwest.”

Improving soil health is absolutely critical for sustainable agriculture production because poor soil health has repercussions on land and food quality, as well as the climate. However, providing capital for farmers adopting soil health improvement agricultural practices is extremely challenging. Farmers must shoulder high upfront costs to transition to new farming practices, and then wait years before recouping costs and increasing profitability. Utilizing the powerful Growers Edge fintech analytics platform, the team will provide updated risk metrics, and offer financial products and services to farms that invest in improving or rebuilding their soil. 

“Traditional financial instruments fail to meet the needs of farmers who are attempting to break out of unprofitable management systems and embrace new ways to improve the resilience and profitability of their operation,” noted Joe Young, president and chief operating officer of Growers Edge. “In partnership with Delta Institute, we will leverage our machine learning models and artificial intelligence platform to remove financial barriers and accelerate the proliferation of soil improvement initiatives.”