Ecological Outcome Verification: Could it be the incentive that catalyzes scalable change across Midwestern dairy farms?

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2024: $50,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2026
Grant Recipient: Kalona Regenerative Network
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Phil Forbes
Kalona Regenerative Network


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

Amidst the pressing need for
climate action in the lush, high-rainfall regions of the American
Midwest, the nonprofit, Kalona Regenerative Network (KRN), is
dedicated to forging a future where
farmland has deep
soil with no erosion, clear water, and increasing biodiversity
while production is occurring
. This proposed endeavor integrates a
groundbreaking approach that enhances profits

and holistic success, dispelling uncertainties
around the financial feasibility of addressing ecological
concerns through systematic monitoring.

Supporting predominantly Amish
dairy producers across the Midwest, KRN is catalyzing
sustainability in the dairy industry by offering dairy producers
an innovative premium market pathway. This pathway incentivizes
adoption of contextually relevant, regenerative practices that
enhance ecological health, ensuring economic viability while
addressing local challenges. The project empowers farmers through
ecological outcome verification (EOV) monitoring, fostering
confidence in their ability to drive positive ecological changes
that lead to improved profitability. Initially driven by market
incentives, farmers' empowerment will eventually catalyze
grassroots adoption of regenerative practices, preserving the
Midwest's agricultural fabric and economic vitality.

Expected outcomes include:
improved landbase EOV scores, increased farmer confidence in
decision-making, and establishment of a reference point for
impacts of regenerative methods in the dairy industry -

sparking curiosity and awareness
amongst farmers
and consumers.

Project objectives from proposal:


Provide a premium market pathway
and support Midwest dairy farmers to incentivize managing for
improved ecological health.


1A Conduct EOV monitoring on 56
dairy farms. 

1B Quarterly visits with
participating farmers establishing a baseline for, and
continually gauging, farmer optimism, openness to addressing
ecological concerns, and perception of their social and financial


Draw conclusions to inform next
steps for KRN (and other networks) to improve farmer social,
financial, and environmental well-being and better understand how
the three pillars impact one another.


2A Written summaries

2B Findings disseminated locally,
within industry, and to consumers

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.