Homeland Conservation (U.K.), Soil Health Institute, Downforce Technologies

by | Jan 30, 2023 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Homeland Conservation (U.K.), plus Soil Health Institute, and Green Biotech—Downforce Technologies!



Homeland Conservation is an organization that doesn’t mince words. It was established in 2020 to accelerate action to minimize global heating. According to its website, “This is not a philanthropic enterprise to benefit people in faraway lands sometime in the distant future. Climate change and the destruction of soils and biodiversity are a clear and present danger to our lives, security and future.”

That data indicates that farming accounts for about one third of all land use., and for about 25% of all GHG emissions. Farmers can not only help reduce GHG emissions. They can also draw carbon from the atmosphere into soil and vegetation. Healthy, living soil is full of life, and life is made of carbon. There are many different approaches, including regenerative and conservation agriculture. 

One challenge of transitioning farmers from the traditional, industrial tillage model to regenerative and conservation models includes allowing farmers to make at least the same income during the transition. Why? Regenerative and conservation farming are more labor intensive and less efficient than traditional, industrial tillage farming, for now. Even if crop yields are equal, carbon is sequestered and the planet is better off, the inefficiencies or regenerative and conservation farming will, for the moment, reduce net profits. That’s a major disincentive to even the staunchest climate change fighting farmer.

So, how dos one channel investment into regenerative agriculture?  Finding a way to reliably measuring natural capital, including Soil Organic Carbon, coupling that with verifiable, reliable carbon markets, and establishing a pricing structure to pay farmers who switch to regenerative and conservation farming a per pound or per ton rate for soil-sequestered carbon. That might make up for, or exceed any revenue shortfall from initial crop yields. 

Why does Homeland Conservation (U.K.) matter to us? In their words, “Protecting the climate and protecting our soil simply mean protecting our homeland, in the United Kingdom the same as in every other nation.” IOW, every other nation could use Homeland Conservation as a template…

DEEPER DIVE: Soil Carbon Sequestration, Regenerative Farming, Conservation Farming, Homeland Conservation



Speaking of soil carbon sequestration, because we at The Climate Daily aren’t experts, we decided to do some research. And this is what we found, The Soil Health Institute. This Morrisville, NC organization is a non-profit whose mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. They do it by tackling and resolving gaps in knowledge and adoption in order to scale up on-farm and environmental benefits for agriculture and society.

One such initiative is determining the economics of soil health systems in US Midwest corn and soy. The concept is straightforward: Farmers and ranchers are businesspeople, and the questions that often present the most significant barrier to adoption of soil health management systems pertain to the business case. The Soil Health Institute interviewed 100 farmers in 9 states who have adopted soil health systems and used partial budget analysis to evaluate their economics and answer the following question: Do soil health practices increase or reduce profitability? 

The conventional wisdom is soil health practices are less profitable in the short run. BUT…a 2021 report by the Soil Health Institute may turn conventional wisdom on its head. In US states where 71% of corn and 67% of soybeans are grown, Soil Health assessed 100 farms participating in soil health practices. 97% of farms reported increased crop resilience to extreme weather; 85% of farms reported an 85% increase in net income for corn farmers ($52/acre) and an 88% net increase for soybean farmers ($45/acre). Furthermore, 67% of farms in the study reported a higher yield than their conventional practices. 

If that’s not enough to clarify why this matters to us, how about this: Corn farmers saved on average $24/acre while soybean growers saved about $17/acre. Click on the link in the Deeper Dive section of theclimate.org/episodes to check out the full text of this report. 

DEEPER DIVE: Soil Health Institute, 2021 Report



Healthy soils are one of the most effective ways to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere and mitigate the climate crisis. Soils contain nearly 60% more carbon than the plants that grow on them around the world, making them crucial for long-term climate ambitions and the sustainable food supply systems the planet requires. As more and more land becomes degraded around the world, it’s becoming increasingly important to measure soil carbon. What’s get measured, gets improved, right? Traditional methods for measuring soil carbon are often time-consuming, costly, and at times unsuitable for variation across large landscapes. Although digital mapping of soil can be deployed at bigger scales, it can fall short in required accuracy.

Enter Downforce Technologies.  It was Incorporated in 2021 by the UK based The Downforce Trust. The Downforce Trust promotes action on climate change, specifically through funding research and programs designed to accelerate the deployment and scaling of known technologies. The company claims to have developed a unique, high precision, remote measurement and mapping of soil organic carbon which provides a novel and highly-effective platform for rapid, remote and high-resolution calculation of quantities and values of natural capital and ecosystem services produced by farmers and land stewards. 

Why does Downforce Technology matter to us? According to its website, Downforce’s methodology enhances accuracy, up to the nearest 10m2, the data of which is supposed to improve sustainable land management, create supply chain resilience, improve veracity of carbon markets and incentivize green finance. This is all very futuristic and promising but also vague. For instance, the company offers farmers 5+ years of historical analysis every 10 days at a 10 meter grid resolution. Does that mean 5+ years going forward, or a five year look back? The only way to know is to book a demo. I don’t own a farm, but I do want to know! 

DEEPER DIVE: DownForce, DownForce Trust