Jason Hayward-Jones – Corporates paying for low carbon grains and why virtual twins are key in gaming and Scottish whiskey

A check-in interview with Jason Hayward-Jones, founder & director at REGENFARM Ltd., and Sustainable Agriculture Specialist at Cefetra, about why corporations are suddenly paying for low-carbon grain, what it has to do with virtual digital twins, why that is such a potentially disruptive technology and, finally, why it is connected with gaming and Scottish whisky.


This podcast is part of the AI 4 Soil Health project which aims to help farmers and policy makers by providing new tools powered by AI to monitor and predict soil health across Europe. For more information visit ai4soilhealth.eu.


Looking at the bigger picture, without resilient farmers, you don’t have any resilient, low-carbon grains being produced.

”If you started this conversation with the food brand three years ago, you wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in their office. Now we’re inviting them to see what a climate, resilient farm looks like. A farm that’s embraced these ideas of reducing utility, using cover crops, switching from nitrogen fertiliser to something else, a whole mixture of those three things. But quite often, those purchasing teams don’t know what that looks like, on the farm, and so introducing them to a farm- either physically or using this new virtual twin technology we’ve also developed- helps immerse them in that environment. Literally, they’re surrounded by it.” Jason Hayward-Jones

”We sit in the middle of a supply chain, and we can almost pull those two wins together, using technology, using on-farm meeting, and using the virtual twin to say, look, this is a real thing. You’re making a real contribution.” Jason Hayward-Jones


Unilever and other big food brands prioritise low-carbon purchasing for growth.

”The overwhelming direction is to go down the low-carbon route. I mean, these big food brands have to get there and stay there. And so, there’s an overwhelming direction to be in that low-carbon purchasing space for growth food products, because it’s the right thing to do. And quite often, those big food brands are shareholder-driven, right? It’s not just about a desire to become net zero. It’s the ability to access finance for those businesses; the financial sector and the insurance sector are demanding it.” Jason Hayward-Jones

So, the decision-makers in those big food brand organisations are the CFO, it’s the purchasing teams, it’s the marketing teams; all their thinking seems to have lined up for this to be now”. – Jason Hayward-Jones


Jason describes the importance of visualising farm interventions before implementation.

”What if they could actually go on a virtual twin of their farm and layer on some interventions, throw different climate change scenarios, and weather scenarios? What if it rained a lot in the spring and there was a drought in the summer? What happened? So, we can put our heads down into technology development, and we now have a virtual twin, which, well, we can create a virtual twin of any farm on Earth, as long as we have the data to construct it. […] . So, if you can see how that field, that one square metre, will behave under different circumstances.’’ Jason Hayward-Jones


Jason talks about the linkages between two groups of populations, gamers and farmers.

”The one I think is the most interesting, and what I understand the least, is the gaming industry. It’s offering an opportunity for the people who enjoy playing games, which are many people in the world, to connect with farmers, which are many people in the world.” Jason Hayward-Jones

”But the beauty of it is that, with a virtual twin, you can have infinite variability, you can have the infinite versions of the future. […] If we can get gamers somehow, to use the virtual twin to design perfect farms on real farms in this area, and then the farmer that takes that design and implements it in the field, it’s the way the gaming industry can cooperate with the farming industry and all get to a climate-resilient place where we all want to be. So, this is just something we’re working on at the moment, it gets a little bit crazy and wild, but it might work.” Jason Hayward-Jones


Koen and Jason also talked about:

  • Transitioning to regenerative agriculture in the UK
  • How digital twin technology can help with this visualisation
  • Widespread appeal of farming simulator 
  • Real-world applications of reducing tillage, employing multi-species cover crops, and switching to organic fertilizer
  • Carbon offsetting and Scottish whisky




Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

This work has received funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee [grant numbers 10053484, 1005216, 1006329].

This work has received funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).


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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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