Recognizing Early Innovators
Recommendations for Maintaining and Expanding Climate-Smart Agricultural Practices
This paper provides insight and recommendations on the challenges facing “early innovators.” Early innovators are our leaders in conservation agriculture. They have tested and developed climate-smart practices, demonstrated the benefits, and paved the way for others to follow. Unfortunately, early innovators can be excluded from public and private conservation programs, which target incentives toward farmers who are new to the conservation space.
As public and private investments in climate-smart agriculture increase, we risk excluding the very leaders who blazed the trail for the expansion of climate-smart agriculture. Our goal should be to develop an agricultural system that encourages maintenance of existing climate-smart practices, continued innovation, and broader adoption of climate-smart practices by producers who have not yet been persuaded to adopt them.