iScore

 

Download the iScore infographic for more detail.

An integral part of implementing integra Trust’s vision has been the development and application of a conservation and regenerative agriculture impact measurement tool.  This tool is called the iScore (tm registration pending). The iScore is a rapid environmental and social impact measurement tool that provides information with respect to the extent to which climate-smart, conservation and regenerative agriculture outcomes are achieved on farm. The iScore has been developed in response to a farmer and industry identified need for a rapid impact measurement tool as to the degree of on-farm conservation and regenerative agriculture outcomes. These outcomes are the result of applying a suite of management interventions.  The tool does not prescribe a specific land management protocol, but it does provide information as to the outcome of the prevailing management regime by considering seven indicators rated according to five scales.  Some of the advantages of the iScore is that it is:

  • an online rapid assessment with in-field verification and ground truthing and thus combining the best electronic systems are to offer without neglecting the important human interface;
  • broad-based by covering aspects such as resource availability, the management system, resource use efficiencies and social aspects;
  • science-based while being context relevant;
  • non-discriminatory with respect to the location of the farming operation, the size and/or type thereof while providing a rating for every participating farmer in accordance with one of the five rating scales as applicable, and
  • affordable, accessible, replicable and scalable. 

By making a deliberate effort to be both rapid and broad-based, the iScore makes provision for topics such as biodiversity, water and greenhouse gas emissions, yet it neither develops these in detail nor does it require full scale assessments or any form of accounting. 

Furthermore, the iScore assists producers in gauging their progress towards and application of climate smart sustainable and regenerative agriculture principles.  This allows for self-assessment by producers, and it will also assist producers in acting towards improved land use management where possible and applicable.  In addition, the rating system aims to give due recognition and rewards for efforts taken by producers towards the prudent management of their agricultural lands.  Concurrently, the system will seek to inform consumers about the degree of sustainability and the regenerative nature of the agricultural practices followed by producers.  The special features of the iScore are:

  1. The iScore is inclusive rather than an exclusive rating system.  This implies that every participating producer, irrespective of the type of farming practice applied or the duration thereof, will receive an iScore rating according to the iScore levels. 
  2. The iScore allows participating producers to set their own goals regarding the desired level they wish to reach, and which actions to take to reach that goal.
  3. The scoring system also takes into consideration the unique features of the different agro-ecological zones by internalising climate, soil types and the availability of water of the specific region.  This allows for assessing the production unit’s iScore relative to, or within the context of, its local environment, while comparing it also outside of its own geographic region. 
  4. The iScore is currently developed for extensive livestock farming and dryland crop production.  An extension to include irrigation and intensive production is planned.
  5. There are five iScore rating levels commencing with Brown, or participation mode, growing to Green which indicates a transition phase to Blue, which is mid-level and indicates a system in which most “leaks” re soil, nutrients, water and expenses have been stopped.  The two higher rating systems are denoted as Silver, a progressive stage onto Gold, when the production unit regenerates life, broadly defined.

Download the iScore infographic for more detail.