Food Companies Collaborate to Scale Sustainable Agricultural Solutions
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Sustainable agriculture requires a broad range of skills and technical knowhow to deal with the inherent challenges. To engage with the farming communities and develop feasible local solutions, collaboration among the buyers can make a real difference.
For the first time ever, leading food and agriculture supply chain companies and conservation organizations have formed an end-to-end partnership to support farmers in the improvement of soil health and water quality. The collective has announced the launch of the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative (MRCC) to promote sustainable agricultural practices already underway in Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska.
The founding members of the MRCC include Cargill, Environmental Defense Fund, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Monsanto, PepsiCo, The Nature Conservancy, Walmart, and World Wildlife Fund.
David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill, said that the company sees the MRCC as a way to support and accelerate the adoption of existing conservation programs set up by farmers and work with customers and organizations that share sustainability goals with the farming community.
Mark R. Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, said that the collaboration between environmental organizations and some of the world’s largest agriculture-based companies should lead to significantly ramped-up water conservation in the Midwest.
The Collaborative plans to initially focus on optimizing soil health practices outcomes, reducing nutrient losses into the rivers and streams of the Mississippi River Basin, maximizing water conservation, and reducing GHG emissions. Most importantly, the MRCC is committed to working with farmer organizations, environmental groups, and state and local watershed partnerships to make an impact.
The Collaborative will employ four strategies to improve positive environmental and social outcomes in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. These strategies include building data and engaging farmers via the Soil Health Partnership, providing training and support for agricultural retailers and crop advisors, having a strong policy engagement, and communicating to the consumers about the farmers making measurable progress through innovation.
Image Credit: istockphoto via fotokostic