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Boots on the Ground – 2024 Leading Harvest Certification Farm Tours

April 24, 2024 - Mollie Aronowitz, AFM

In early April, I had the opportunity to join Peoples Company Delta Land Manager Julie Boggs and our 2024 Leading Harvest auditing team on managed farms in northern Louisiana.

Peoples Company enrolls all managed acres in the Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard. Investing time and resources into the standard has served as a powerful tool for the management team to systematically tackle processes and strategies to measure sustainability outcomes. Peoples Company was the first private farm management firm in the United States to enroll its entire portfolio of managed acres in Leading Harvest with certification in 2021.

Critical to the continuous improvement process is recertification every three years by a third-party auditor and portfolio reviews annually in between. Peoples Company anticipates being the first US company to be certified by two separate auditing bodies. The auditing process ensures we strive and stretch for continuous improvement to ensure clients receive the highest quality processes, templates, and management services.

The certification includes a review of all internal systems and training as well as confirmation through tenant interviews and farm tours. The standard is flexible and adaptable just like the living landscape we are working with, making auditor tours and tenant interviews critical to the verification process.

Northern Louisiana was starting its spring planting season, with many visited farms yet to be planted due to heavy rainfall. The farm tours focused on soil health and conservation but also considered the wider lens of production, including irrigation infrastructure, energy use, habitat and biodiversity, regulatory compliance, and tenant safety.

I have spent over ten years managing farms for Peoples Company. Experience has shown me that while the landscape changes from one end of the country to the other, the high caliber of our trusted tenant operators does not. Peoples Company tenant operators are in the business of solving problems and finding successes on rented farmland.

What became clear in our audit interviews is that each tenant operator knows that the best defense is a good offense. They are proactively addressing potential yield loss risks with the foundation that healthy plants are also more resistant to pest and disease pressure.

  • Regular soil testing to address deficiencies through fertility programs, cover crops, and crop rotations.

  • Utilizing seed genetics and variable rate planting to maximize opportunity.

  • Investing time and resources in regular field scouting for robust integrated pest management systems.

Peoples Company seeks to maximize production on every managed farm, as well as protect the environmentally sensitive acres on every managed farm. Our tenant operators understand that managed farms are part of a larger working landscape with natural resources interconnected.

Peoples Land Management seeks to create value and local connections for landowners across our management footprint. Our work is centered around transparent and collaborative working relationships to meet long-term goals focused on increased asset appreciation for our management clients. Landowners interested in the Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard or Peoples Company management services are encouraged to contact us at 855.800.LAND (5263) or LandManagement@PeoplesCompany.com.

Published in: Land Management