Tyson Foods is moving forward on its commitment to support improved environmental practices on two million acres of corn by the end of 2020. The largest food company in the United States has partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund and will incorporate cloud-based agricultural technologies MyFarms and Farmers Business Network to help reach their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030.
The partnership’s first project focuses on land stewardship and aims to pilot and scale agriculture practices on 500,000 acres of corn that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve water quality and maximize farmer profitability.
“Developing a sustainable food system is important to our business and the planet,” says Justin Whitmore, executive vice president of continuous improvement and chief sustainability officer, Tyson Foods. “Joining forces with EDF enables us to bring together the best of our joint expertise in supply chains and sustainable agriculture and deliver value to growers, businesses and the environment.”
MyFarms and FBN, both of which collect information on agricultural production practices while protecting data privacy, will provide insights from the analysis of that data that will inform sustainability practices at the field level. Both companies will work to enroll farmers in the initial sustainable agriculture project. FBN will be providing this opportunity to its 7,600 members, who span nearly 30 million acres, and are looking for new ways to continue their commitment to sustainable agriculture. Farmers enrolled in MyFarms will also have the opportunity to pilot a new scientific method, based on extensive scientific research compiled by EDF, for calculating nitrogen loss.
According to Caroline Ahn, communications manager with Tyson, the land stewardship pilot programs are not region-specific.
“Any row crop farmer can participate in the pilots through our partners (FBN or My Farms), regardless of whether or not they are a Tyson-supplier,” Ahn says. “We want to see environmental and economic progress for all farmers. FBN and My Farms will be working with their farmer networks to enroll acres into their programs.”
Other features of the partnership include:
- Analyzing sustainability data on farmland, as part of Tyson’s land stewardship commitment.
- Publicly communicate progress and best practices that surface from pilot projects.
“If the largest U.S. food company can prove the viability of farming practices that are good for the planet and for profits, it would be a game changer,” says Jenny Ahlen, director of the EDF+Business supply chain program. “We’re using scientific analysis to measure the benefits of sustainable farming practices, help companies like Tyson evaluate the impact of their sustainability initiatives and inspire transparency across the supply chain.”
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