by Ben Nuelle
For the first time, leading food, Ag companies, and conservation organizations form a partnership to support farmers improving soil health and water quality.
A new collaborative was launched at Farm Progress Show Wednesday. It’s called the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative. Jill Kolling with Cargill says this effort supports the use of conservation practices already underway in Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. “We are working together to support farmers in the upper Mississippi Basin in the improvement of soil health, water quality, and water scarcity. Founding members of the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative group include Cargill, The Environmental Defense Fund, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Monsanto, Pepsi Co, The Nature Conservancy, Walmart, and The World Wildlife Fund.”
Kolling says Cargill sees the collaborative as an essential way to support and accelerate the adoption of existing conservation program designed by farmers. “We also see it as a way to recognize the good work that has already been done. It’s about providing solutions that makes sense for farmers, the environment, and consumers. Initially the collaborative will be focusing on three Midwestern states Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. In these states we will be working to optimize soil health practices and outcomes, reduce nutrient runoff into the rivers and streams of the Mississippi River Basin, maximize water conservation, and to reduce green house gas emissions.
The collaborative has committed to raising $4 million over five years to help move the Soil Health Partnership forward. SHP is a farmer-led initiative of the National Corn Growers Association.