Regenerative agriculture is defined as “a holistic land-management practice that leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle, and build soil health, cropresilience, and nutrient density,” according to Regeneration International.
These growing techniques are backed up by science. The result: farms yield more bushels per acre, keep and improve the soil, and capture more and more carbon than ever before. All of these results fit into our goal of reducing greenhouse gases, reducing the carbon intensity of energy, and making bio-based fuels and chemicals in ways that are sustainable both economically and environmentally.
Learn more about our feedstocks, and the regenerative agriculture and sustainable farming we research and encourage to capture carbon from the atmosphere.
Agriculture Has Inspired the Evolution of Sustainability
Sustainable agriculture practices make a huge difference in the carbon intensity of our process. Adding to our sustainability has always been part of our plan. Sustainability has evolved to include many different aspects of our business and how we have an impact on the greater world. Gevo makes use of photosynthesis as an energy-efficient tool for carbon recycling. Nowadays the industry standards take many different factors into account. We base our concept of sustainability on the Argonne GREET model. Many factors are taken into account:
- Soil Carbon Sequestration
- Land Use
- Water Use
- Human Quality-of-Life Issues
- Food Security
The Argonne GREET model is the best measure we have to dial in the sustainability of processes across the entire business model. After all, sustainability needs to factor in every aspect of life.
“Gevo doesn’t just purchase feedstock from farmers. Instead we work with farmers as partners, to encourage sustainable farming and regenerative agriculture.”
Sustainable Farming Is Here to Stay
Sustainable farming is nothing new. But what once was considered common
sense to farmers to optimize the productivity of their lands is now a key tool
for us to help fight climate change. Sustainable agriculture methods have been
learned over our rich history of tilling the soil and ensuring a healthy crop, because back then it was a life or death proposition. If the crop didn’t produce a farmer’s family could be at risk all winter. The same thing could be said to be true today, only it’s the health of the whole planet at stake.
Corn contains carbon in its
carbohydrate—drawn from the atmosphere.
The root mass contains carbon, and is left in the ground to enrich the soil.
Cornstalks and leaves contain carbon too. When left in the field they add more carbon to the soil.
Sustainable Agriculture Practices Spark the Whole Circular Economy
Gevo’s unique systems approach is focused on getting the most out of our plant-based feedstock to improve global food supply as well as cut GHG emissions from transportation. We strive to source corn feedstock from farmers who use carbon-sequestering regenerative agricultural practices, then multiply the effect by separating the protein and starch out of every kernel.
- Nutrition first, Gevo will produce more protein products compared to renewable fuels, on a tonnage basis
- Farmers succeed, growing their operations and employing more people
- Better economic conditions help rural communities thrive
- Farms participate in growth of renewable energy infrastructure
- Every acre produces both food and fuel
Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change
Corn is an excellent candidate for sustainable agriculture because it is an opportunity to capture carbon as it creates biomass from seed to tall stalks, season after season. Low-till and no-till techniques keep the root, and, in many cases, the stalks and leaves on the ground, where they are incorporated into the soil, adding organic material. This allows farmers to recycle many of the nutrients that the seedlings in the next crop will need, without adding soil inputs, such as synthetic fertilizer. Many sustainable agriculture practices are inspired by regenerative
results. Regenerative agriculture is particularly effective with corn:
- Stalks grow to more than six feet tall each year, drawing carbon from the atmosphere
- Stalks and leaves store carbon
- Root structure stores carbon
- Low-till and no-till farming techniques leave roots, stalks, and leaves in the soil
- Organic matter in soil helps water retention
- Soil biodiversity helps sequester carbon more deeply