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Data Insights and Opportunities: Building On A Legacy of Family Farming

Kyle Mehmen never met a data point he didn’t find useful. On the farm he runs with his family—MBS Family Farms near Plainfield, Iowa—accurate data plays a critical role in every aspect of the operation.

A fifth-generation farmer on his father’s side and longer on his mom’s, Mehmen supports regenerative agriculture with the future in mind. “I want to preserve this way of life for my kids and their kids,” he states. “And that’s not to say they’re going to be farmers. We may not know what they’re God-given talents are now, but if they want to be an accountant, I need one. If they want to be a lawyer, I write checks to attorneys too. Farming for the long-term supports this way of life.”

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Figure 1: Kyle’s daughter checking out the cover crops before the beans were harvested.

Source: MBS Facebook Page

About two-thirds of the acres in production at MBS Family Farms are enrolled in CIBO IMPACT™. They grow No. 2 yellow corn—most of which goes to nearby ethanol plants for processing—as well as soybeans. In southern Minnesota, they also grow production sweet corn.

CIBO IMPACT is the first marketplace that supports U.S. farmers and scales regenerative agriculture. It’s the first and only science-based platform that uses satellite mapping, macro-level data and proprietary simulations to spotlight the regenerative potential and available carbon credits for every parcel of farmland in the United States.

Soil management practices on MBS Family Farms started nearly thirty years ago. Kyle Mehmen’s dad Stan—who farms in partnership with his son today—bought the first no-till soybean drill in the area in the 1990s. A decade ago, they began experimenting with cover crops, and they’re currently doubling cover crop acreage annually.

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Figure 2: 9th annual Benning-Mehmen Tractor Ride

Source: MBS Facebook Page

“CIBO is the cherry on top,” Mehmen explains. “It offers both financial and holistic incentives, and the financial incentives are important for achieving broad scale adoption. Scale is everything, and you never want to discount a small number. Ten dollars multiplied by 100 is one thing. But if you multiply $10 by 1000, you start to see the value of scaling.”

Mehmen recalls earlier attempts at determining carbon credits. “The technology for verification wasn’t there,” he remembers. “Those early systems required too much work from farmers, especially in terms of tracking. That’s not a problem for us because we generally have three points of reconciliation for every major data point on our farm, but I like the fact that CIBO doesn’t require intense farmer input.”

A member of the CIBO Farmer Advisory Network, Mehmen details his reasons for joining. “I joined to understand better and have a first look at new technologies. It’s a good first step and something I can integrate on my farm, but I can also play a hand in offering advice in developing tools that are helpful and useable.”

“Margins in farming are always razor thin,” Mehmen notes. “But it could be that as soon as 10 or 15 years from now, the value in the commodity crops we grow is actually in the data we’re generating. CIBO IMPACT can help accelerate the process.”

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