The Ukraine Report: This farm is committed to reducing its carbon footprint

Around the world, the agriculture industry is focused on making the most climate-friendly production choices.

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage.

Ukrainian agricultural companies pursue a green path. El Gaucho is among them, using the maximum possible opportunities, such as reducing its carbon footprint, practicing no-till, and developing a biogas project.

Now let’s take it from the beginning. The name El Gaucho doesn’t sound like a Ukrainian word, does it? The parent company had previously partnered with an Argentine machinery manufacturer, and being fascinated by the country’s natural beauty, they decided to name their subsidiary El Gaucho, which means “shepherd” in Spanish.

The farm raises cattle, but the main focus is still on crop production. And half of the company’s land is now cultivated by no-till technology, and the area grows every year.

“We do not grow organic products. However, we understand that land is our most important asset. It is an asset that is hard to restore, so our activities are based on taking care of the land in every possible way. So that the land is not depleted. All the projects we are considering today are all about tomorrow.”

Solar energy, in particular, fits in with these principles. The roofs of the company’s farms and warehouses are covered with solar panels.

“Before the full-scale invasion, we had resources to start a business. We considered many options and one day the owner came to us and suggested we think about solar power. It’s not quite agriculture, but the project doesn’t consume much resources, including human resources, and its economy counts well. After all, we consume less in a year than the station generates in a month. Now we are constantly expanding.”

Given the war and all the risks associated with it, they are looking for solutions to financially secure the company. Construction of a biogas plant is among the options, particularly as business ties with EU countries are increasingly strengthening.

“In Ukraine, gas doesn’t have a good price, but Europe is ready to buy liquefied gas produced at a biogas plant at a premium if it is produced as a waste product from livestock. If we grow silage corn and produce gas from it, this does not work with the claim that it creates competition for food products, and we could fight hunger. But producing gas from livestock waste is encouraged. Especially since we have our own livestock, although it is not our core business.”

Going back to the point about working on the land and thinking about tomorrow, El Gaucho is also committed to reducing its carbon footprint. The majority of the company’s cultivated areas are subject to decarbonisation requirements.

“We applied for carbon certificates in spring. We didn’t have to redesign our processes, it just turned out that they met the requirements. And as a nice bonus, we can still receive some money for the development of our farm.”

That report was powered by Latifundist Media, with USAID support provided through Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) Activity implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.