Across two generations, the name Mondavi has become associated with advocacy and turning aspirations into reality. A June article in the New York Times touches on the similarities between Robert Mondavi and his grandson, Carlo, regarding wine, farming, and a visionary mindset. The focus, however, is how Carlo Mondavi, Co-founder and Chief Farming Officer of Monarch Tractor, is working to advance the future of farming into one that’s healthier for farmers, consumers, and the planet. Think of it as green farming in terms of profit and more organic agriculture.Hands in the Land
As those who work closely with the land, farmers are among the first people to feel the impact of extreme weather events associated with climate instability. They also understand the importance of maintaining diverse ecosystems and share a desire to minimize or eliminate the use of harsh and expensive petroleum-based fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Traditionally, practices that support organic agriculture have been too expensive and time-consuming for many farms to adopt.
As a farmer himself, Mondavi is taking pointed action to help farmers achieve a profitable model of renewable or greener farming. He operates his Sonoma County winery, RAEN (which he established with his brother, Dante in 2013) with regenerative agriculture practices. Through RAEN he launched The Monarch Challenge, a movement to draw attention to the plight of a rapidly decreasing population of invertebrates; a phenomenon brought to his attention through observing the plunging numbers of monarch butterflies over the past 20 years. With Monarch Tractor, he’s using one of the world’s most common pieces of agricultural equipment, a sub-100HP tractor, to play a pivotal role in helping farmers.
A Healthier Plants Starts With Healthier Farms
Reducing herbicides will help pollinators and reducing diesel emissions will remove damaging pollutants from the air. Regarding emissions, “Tractors are far worse than ordinary cars,” Mondavi noted during the interview.
Drawing from his experience and collaborations with farmers, Mondavi believes the MK-V, with its electric vehicle technology, robotics, and connectivity can help conventional farms overcome the obstacles that prevent them from employing renewable farming methods. That technology also brings increased safety features that save lives and reduce tractor-related accidents.
Mondavi told the New York Times, “This is technology that helps our planet. It changes the economic dynamic, helping make it cheaper to farm organically or regeneratively than to farm conventionally. I have friends who farm conventionally. No one wants to harm Mother Earth.”
Already in the Field
Just as Robert Mondavi’s vision for Napa materialized, the younger Mondavi’s vision is already in the field doing work for farmers. In late 2022, the first fleet of Monarch Tractors was delivered to Constellation Brands, which now owns Robert Mondavi. More tractors are currently being built and scaling up to meet its high demand.
And what about Mondavi’s ambitions for Monarch Tractor to live up to its environmental expectations?
“I’m more optimistic now than ever when you see what can be done,” he said.