Kellogg Company, United Suppliers, Inc., and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announced a collaboration to help growers improve fertilizer efficiency and soil health on their farms while maintaining high yields.
This initiative will connect farmers in Kellogg’s grain sourcing region of Nebraska, particularly in Crete, to United Suppliers’ Sustain Platform to help the company meet sustainable sourcing goals and drive adoption of improved farm management practices.
Although fertilizer is essential for producing food across the globe, crops take up on average only 40 percent of nutrients each growing season. The excess fertilizer can runoff and cause water pollution and transform into air pollution in the form of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas nearly 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
“We’re giving our foods the best start possible by protecting the land where our ingredients are grown and our foods are made,” said Amy Braun, senior sustainability manager at Kellogg Company. “This partnership is a significant opportunity to improve the sustainability of our priority grain ingredients by improving soil health and fertilizer and water use efficiency in our grain sourcing regions.”
United Suppliers, Inc. is owned by 600 agricultural retailers who operate nearly 2,500 retail locations, and who serve growers spanning 45 million acres in the U.S. and Canada. United Suppliers developed the SustainN Platform, in coordination with EDF, which combines a set of proven, effective technologies, practices and products that improve nutrient use efficiency, improve soil health, and reduce erosion while enhancing productivity. United Suppliers recently merged its seed and crop protection business with Land O’Lakes, Inc., giving United Suppliers additional size and scale, more product offerings, services, tools and technologies.
“We are excited to be working with Kellogg Company, which sees the ag retail sector as crucial partners in scaling sustainability and achieving sustainable sourcing goals,” said Matt Carstens, vice president of United Suppliers. “By working together, this team can showcase the strength of partnering across the agricultural supply chain to deliver value to growers, businesses, and the environment.”
The collaboration was announced at a Sustain Platform training for agricultural retailer and United Suppliers co-op member Frontier Cooperative in Brainerd, Neb. The event marks the launch of on-the-ground work to promote the Sustain Platform in the region. The training educates Frontier staff on environmental challenges facing agriculture, agronomic best practices for nutrient management and soil health, and how to implement the Sustain Platform with grower customers.
The new collaboration will:
- Train ag retailers in Nebraska on how to engage growers in tools, technologies and practices for fertilizer optimization and improved soil health – without sacrificing yield.
- Communicate to growers about the value of the Sustain Platform and other sustainability programming for growers and the environment.
- Help Kellogg achieve its sustainable sourcing goals for water quality, soil, and climate outcomes through expansion of the Sustain Platform in the company’s sourcing regions.
- Document the impacts this collaboration has on-the-ground through a strong data collection toolkit.
- Expand the reach of the Sustain Platform in the Nebraska to help United Suppliers meet its goal of 10 million acres enrolled in Sustain by 2020.
- Help improve farmer resilience and economic outcomes through sustainability improvements that ensure efficient use of inputs, water management, and sustained yields.
“Since fertilizer loss to the environment is a major challenge for water quality and climate stability, it is crucial that we find effective means to help growers optimize their fertilizer use while staying productive,” noted Suzy Friedman, senior director of agricultural sustainability at EDF. “Approximately 80 percent of growers turn most often to agricultural retailers to influence their fertilizer decisions, so Kellogg’s support of the SUSTAIN Platform helps bring agricultural sustainability to scale.”
Longer-term, the collaboration will expand beyond Nebraska into other Kellogg sourcing regions and relevant geographies across North America.