A collaboration between two giant companies in the United States hopes to push forward regenerative agriculture, a concept that could be a significant part of the lives of producers and farmland owners in the decades ahead as they combat climate challenges.
The partnership links General Mills, one of the largest food producers, and Walmart, one of the nation’s largest retailers. The companies announced implementation of regenerative agriculture practices on 600,000 acres in the U.S. by the end of this decade.
That number – 600,000 acres – represents “the approximate number of acres General Mills engages to source key ingredients for its products sold through Walmart and Sam’s Club,” per Supermarket News.
Implementation will include these seven states in the Northern and Southern Plains regions:
RELATED: A report commissioned by the Farm Journal Foundation stresses the need for improved food production to feed the world’s growing population.
“Regenerative agriculture focuses on improving the health of soil, which has been degraded by the use of heavy machinery, fertilizers and pesticides in intensive farming,” World Economic Forum’s website explains regarding the need for regenerative agriculture.
It also includes this rather ominous warning, “There may not be enough soil left to grow food to feed the world within 50 years.”
In an increasingly paralyzed environment where the nation’s two major political parties are frequently unable, or unwilling, to work together on forward-focused, longer-term commitments, the private sector has taken steps on its own. This partnership between General Mills and Walmart is an example.
There is some federal involvement, though, at least tangentially. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior approves the board of directors for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization that works with corporations with conservation strategies.
The NFWF will support the joint effort of General Mills and Walmart through grants for crops like wheat. The companies will focus on improving soil health, watersheds, biodiversity and carbon sequestration.
Part of that partnership includes a shared goal of “economic resilience,” explains iGrow News. “The objective is twofold: support the transition to regenerative agriculture and elevate the potential for more resilient yields for farmers.”
Here is what leaders at General Mills and Walmart say about the plan:
“Through this partnership, we will work hand-in-hand with Walmart and Sam’s Club to help regenerate the acres of land in the key regions where we source ingredients for our shared business,” said Jon Nudi, Group President, North America Retail at General Mills. “We are excited by the opportunity to bring our products, including Pillsbury refrigerated dough and Blue Buffalo pet food and treats, to Walmart shelves more sustainably, with the help of our merchants and farmer partners.”
“We’re committing to making the everyday choice the more sustainable choice for consumers,” said John Laney, Executive Vice President, Food at Walmart U.S. “This collaboration is an example of how we are working across our value chain on intentional interventions to help advance regenerative agriculture and ensure surety of supply for these essential food products for the long term.”