A Call-to-Action: Transformative Investment in Climate-Smart Agriculture

Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Time: 12:00 PM Central Time

Participants: Erin Fitzgerald, CEO, USFRA, Rob Trice, Founding Partner, Better Food Ventures, Paul Noglows, Executive Director, Crusonia on the Delta

On Tuesday, February 9th, USFRA released a report titled "Transformative Investment in Climate-Smart Agriculture: Unlocking the potential of our soils to help the U.S. achieve a net-zero economy."

This report focuses on six established practices: 1) no-till/reduced tillage with retained residues, 2) cover crops, 3) crop rotation, 4) compost application 5) managed grazing, and 6) integrated crop and livestock systems—all of which improve soil health, sequester carbon and produce numerous co-benefits such as reduced erosion, increased water infiltration, and economic and environmental resiliency. With technology and financial innovation targeted at specific practice adoption barriers, these benefits will accrue on the farm, throughout rural America and the agriculture value chain, and the nation as a whole.

Farmers and ranchers need investment to realize soil’s potential to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere, supporting the transition to a net-zero GHG emissions economy. Impact Investors can play a key role by driving capital to investment opportunities that advance climate-smart agriculture. Widespread adoption of these practices will improve soil health and the resilience of America’s farms and ranches to changing climate conditions, ultimately contributing to equitable economic growth and progress toward global Sustainable Development Goals.

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Erin Fitzgerald

CEO, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action 

Erin Fitzgerald serves as CEO of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers In Action (USFRA), a farmer and
rancher led organization committed to encouraging stakeholder and consumer dialogue about how food is grown and raised. Fitzgerald’s thought leadership in the sustainability space convenes food and agriculture stakeholders in an inclusive dialogue on the sustainable food systems of the 21st century. Prior to USFRA, Erin Fitzgerald served as Senior Vice President, Global Sustainability for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, where she conducted an environmental impact assessment that led to an industry-wide voluntary carbon reduction goal of 25 percent by 2020. Erin has been recognized in Chicago’s 40 under 40 and is an avid voice for sustainability and social responsibility(White House Champion of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture, Aspen InstituteFirst Movers Fellow).


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Rob Trice

Founding Partner, Better Food Ventures

Rob Trice is the Founder of Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl. He is leveraging nearly fifteen years in mobile, internet and telecom venture capital to pursue the application of information technology to food and agriculture challenges. Better Food Ventures funds innovators using information technology to make positive impact now in food and agriculture. The Mixing Bowl connects food, agriculture and IT innovators for thought and action leadership. Rob previously worked at global VC funds, including Swisscom Ventures, SK Telecom Ventures, NGP Capital and what is now BlueRun Ventures. Prior to his days in venture capital, he worked at DIRECTV in LA & Tokyo and at a DC-based think-tank, The Center for Strategic & International Studies. He is also Co-founder of the non-profit Corporate Innovators Huddle; Chair of San Francisco-based engaged philanthropy organization, Full Circle Fund; on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Food, Ag & Environmental Sciences at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; a Founding Advisor to the Innovation Institute for Food & Health at UC Davis; a Member of the Farm Foundation’s Program Committee; on the US Farmers & Ranchers in Action’s Honor the Harvest Advisory Board; and an Advisor to the Mista food optimizer. Rob splits his time between Menlo Park and Pescadero, CA.


Paul Noglows

Executive Director, Crusonia on the Delta

Executive Producer, Crusonia on the Delta FOOD IS HEALTH Forum

Paul has spent his entire career focused on identifying, analyzing, explaining, investing in and helping build ground-breaking business models whether as a journalist, award-winning equity analyst, director of research, producer, angel investor, teacher or head of a non-profit. Paul conceives and creates high-profile and profitable live content events that identify and define new communities of interest and showcase the wealth of talent and innovation blossoming within them. He has also worked with numerous cities and regions helping them to successfully leverage compelling Live Content events as meaningful drivers of regional economic development.

Prior to helping establish Crusonia on the Delta, a Memphis-based non-profit built on the premise that Food is Health, Paul spent over five years as Executive Director of Development at ForbesLIVE. During his tenure, Paul conceived, launched and built three of Forbes’ most successful Live Content franchises: Reinventing America, Forbes Impact Investing Summit, and most notably, the Forbes AgTech Summit.

Earlier in his career, Paul spent 13 years on Wall Street as an award-winning Equity Analyst and Director of Research and was a Founding Member of Hambrecht & Quist’s seminal Internet Research Group which helped define and finance Internet 1.0. Prior to Wall Street, Paul was a Journalist and helped launched the Internet’s first trade publication: Inter@ctive Week.

Paul Noglows Headshot Dec 2016