The regenerative agriculture movement, including cover crops, has officially reached into the mainstream. Fashion brands such as Wrangler, Patagonia, and even Gucci are partnering with cotton farms that focus on soil health and carbon sequestration through using covers. Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri has cited achieving net-zero carbon emissions as one of the brand’s priorities.
On the food side of the agriculture industry, big brands such as General Mills and Danone have also got on board with regenerative practices, including cover cropping. Danone has recently completed year 3 of its 5-year program for regenerative ag practices, such as utilizing covers, on 82,000 acres of farmland.
Danone’s farmers have utilized no-till on 77% of those acres and cover crops on 64% of the acres, while doubling the number of crop species grown to 32. Danone has even worked with third-party verification organization EcoPractices to measure the decrease in erosion and increase in carbon sequestration on each farm. The program has, so far, sequestered 20,000 tons of carbon in the soil, the company says.
Investing in regenerative solutions, including cover crops, to practice carbon offsetting is a step in the right direction — even if it’s also a marketing talking point for global fashion and food brands.
Cotton farms are not the only ones benefitting from regenerative agriculture and cover crops; sheep and cattle operations can also be considered regenerative for their production of wool and leather.
Although consumers are benefitting from this push toward more regenerative agriculture practices and cover cropping, the real benefactors are the growers themselves. Restoring the soil, fostering biodiversity, protecting water systems and sequestering more carbon through cover crops all set up agricultural farmland to be even more profitable in future years and generations.