Robyn O'Brien is a co-founder and Managing Director at rePlant Capital. She is also a Fulbright scholar, best-selling author and widely recognized speaker on global food systems. In 2020, she was recognized on Forbes Impact 50 List for her work at the intersection of agriculture and climate. Robyn holds an MBA from Rice University where she is also an adjunct professor at Rice University's Jones School of Business.
What is the Challenge?
Today, farmers take home only 8 cents for every dollar of food they produce. The majority fail to break even each year, and there is $426B of farmer debt. Our farm economy is upside down. We have an extractive food system leaning on extractive capital structures.
U.S. farmers face severe financial hardship and soil depletion after decades of an industrialized, agrochemical model. It’s becoming increasingly obvious our food system needs restructuring, but you can not fix a broken food system with a broken financial system.
What is the Solution?
rePlant improves farmer profitability and environmental outcomes through financing the transition of farmland to regenerative and organic agriculture. Alongside farmers, agronomists, and food companies, rePlant is building a new financial system to recognize and scale an agricultural philosophy that provides important ecosystem services for the climate.
How this looks like concretely: RePlant Capital develops financing options for farmers who are willing and ready to transition to regenerative and organic agriculture. The firm connects farmers to technical assistance from agronomists, soil conservationists, NGOs, and other technical experts, while at the same time deploying capital to accelerate the transition. The financing terms are tied to the health of the soil.