The five-year, US$8.5 million project will impact 100,000 acres of row crops and feed production in Nebraska to build on farmers’ ongoing efforts to mitigate and adapt to impacts of climate changes.
The Nature Conservancy, McDonald’s, Cargill and Target have joined forces to launch a new five-year, US$8.5 million project aimed at working with Nebraska farmers to advance proven soil health practices to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and help farmers adapt to climate change. Overall, this effort has the potential to sequester 150,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide over the course of the project – equivalent to removing over 32,000 cards from the road in one year.
Nebraska is one of the top states for US beef production and among the top three states for corn production, a key ingredient for cattle feed. This project will work with interested farmers to reach 100,000 acres of land, and provide them with the technical and financial assistance to scale the implementation of regenerative soil health practices, including cover cropping, reduced tillage and diversified crop rotation.
Heather Taney, sustainability leader for Cargill’s protein and animal health businesses, said: “Mitigating climate change is a top priority for our organisations. We know we cannot tackle this alone. I’m proud of this effort to not only promote carbon sequestration in the beef feed supply chain but also support the resilience of agricultural communities.”
As an Ecosystem Services Market Consortium pilot, the programme works to connect farmers to private sector payments for societal climate and water benefits.
Debbie Reed, director of the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, elaborated: “Farmers who adopt soil health practices can provide those improvements. The consortium connects the two and creates a way to pay farmers for beneficial environmental outcomes.”
This connection, along with $4.4 million in support from a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service grant through their Regional Conservation Partnership Programme, provides a way to further scale adoption of regenerative agriculture.
The initiative is also part of Cargill’s BeefUp Sustainability initiative, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the company’s beef supply chain by 30% by 2030, measured on a per pound of beef basis against a 2017 baseline. Earlier this summer, Cargill launched a grassland restoration effort to support this goal.