Cargill has announced that it is supporting farmer-led efforts to adopt regenerative agriculture practices on 10 million acres of crop land in North America by 2030.
The initiative will focus primarily on row crop rotations that include staple crops such as corn, wheat, canola and soybeans.
Through its support for farmers, the company aims to advance its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its global supply chains by 30% per ton of product by 2030.
Cargill also expects the initiative to play a part in its efforts to protect and enhance water resources, announced earlier this year with a raft of targets.
The company will work with partners and other stakeholders across the supply chain to provide farmers with access to technical and agronomic resources that support yield and profit objectives, as well as training opportunities and support with data collection.
Cargill will also help connect farmers to cost-sharing options and support the development of new solutions that incentivise positive environmental outcomes, such as greenhouse gas emission reductions.
Cargill already has several efforts underway to support the 10-million-acre initiative. The company is a founding member of the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund, which helps row crop farmers implement regenerative agriculture practices. Farmers are incentivised on a per-acre basis for adopting practices like planting cover crops, reducing tillage and optimising nutrient management.
Under Cargill’s BeefUp Sustainability initiative, the company has joined forces with The Nature Conservancy, McDonald’s and Target to support Nebraska farmers in implementing soil health practices. The five-year project aims to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and is expected to impact 100,000 acres of row crops and feed production.
Working with the Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), Cargill has launched two pilot programmes focused on boosting adoption of cover crops in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, Arkansas and Tennessee. Through the partnership, PFI consults with farmers at no cost and helps connect them to additional resources such as field days and webinars.
Meanwhile, a partnership with The Nature Conservancy has established nearly 900 acres of cover crop demonstration sites in Minnesota under two projects. The aim of these initiatives is to educate farmers on the benefits of cover crops, which help protect local water systems and improve soil health.
Ryan Sirolli, Cargill sustainability director for row crops, said: “When farmers adopt practices, and ultimately systems, such as reducing or eliminating tillage and adding cover crops, we can help mitigate climate change and protect water resources while improving the resiliency of the soil.
“Investing in soil health principles is how agriculture can help enhance farmer livelihoods while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving water quality and increasing drought resilience.”