Purina and Cargill to collaborate on regenerative agriculture in pet food supply chains

Purina will invest to support farmers in the Midwest as they transition to regenerative agriculture practices.

The initiative is anticipated to facilitate the adoption of regenerative agriculture methods across more than 200,000 acres of farmland in the Midwest USA while reducing the carbon footprint of Purina’s grain supply from Cargill by up to 40% over the next three years.

Nestlé’s global category leader for cereals and grains John Foster said: “We care about making quality pet food with responsibly sourced ingredients, and that’s why Purina is supporting farmers’ transition to regenerative agricultural practices, with soil health restoration at the forefront.”

Purina will invest to support farmers across multiple states in the Midwest as they transition to regenerative agriculture practices, including cover cropping, no/low tillage, crop rotation, nutrient management and soil erosion control.

Cargill’s vice president of global partner leader Stewart Derechin said: “Our vision is to make regenerative agriculture commonplace across the industry.

“Through partnerships with customers like Nestlé Purina, we are helping farmers produce food more sustainably while also increasing the productivity and resilience of their farms.”

Cargill is planning to scale regenerative agriculture practices to more than 10 million acres of North American farmland by 2030 to reduce the carbon footprint of the US agriculture and food supply chain and build a more resilient food system.

Since 2020, Cargill has been promoting regenerative agriculture practices on 880,000 acres of farmland across North America.

Cargill currently provides a range of regenerative agriculture initiatives tailored to meet farmers at their current stage and offer assistance in transitioning to regenerative farming practices with the potential to capture greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhance water quality and efficiency.

In 2020, Cargill committed to enhancing water management practices throughout its operations and in key watersheds within its supply chain, with an aim to restore 600 billion litres of water over the span of a decade.

Barriers to regenerative agriculture adoption

Despite the numerous environmental advantages and the positive impact on farmers’ productivity and resilience, the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices is often hindered by insufficient resources and funding for farmers.

According to a recent study conducted by McKinsey & Company, the understanding of sustainable farming among US farmers is widespread; however, the actual implementation of sustainable practices remains limited.

McKinsey’s 2024 US farmer’s survey, which surveyed nearly 500 farmers across the country found that 90% of farmers understand regenerative agriculture practices. While farmers express a willingness to adopt such practices, cost-related barriers persist.

The survey highlights a correlation between the adoption of sustainable practices and the perceived return on investment (ROI). Practices deemed to offer the highest ROI, such as soil sampling-based fertiliser application, witness the highest adoption rates.

Despite acknowledging the potential long-term benefits of sustainable practices, farmers anticipate ongoing costs to remain elevated by 1 to 3% even after five years of implementation.

McKinsey partner Vasanth Ganesan said: “The transition to truly sustainably produced food hinges on changing behaviours and operational decisions, and the consistent support of agriculture & food ecosystem players to support farmers holistically as they look to embrace the changes that lie ahead.”

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