We’re proud to announce that, a year ahead of schedule, we’ve reached our goal to improve fertilizer use on 70,000 acres of wheat. Reaching this milestone boosts farmers’ profitability, benefits surrounding water quality, and reduces the impact on our climate.
Achieving our 2020 wheat goal
In 2013, we worked with Walmart to define an ambitious target: we would partner with wheat farmers to enroll 70,000 acres into a fertilizer optimization plan by the end of 2020.
Improving farm practices related to fertilizer brings several benefits:
- The production and use of nitrogen fertilizer is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions from farming practices.
- Applying more nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer than needed increases the likelihood of contaminating local watersheds or groundwater.
- Farmers can grow more at lower expense which means they are more profitable.
To meet this target, in 2015 we partnered with Environmental Defense Fund and Truterra (formerly Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN™) as they developed the Truterra™ farm sustainability program. The Truterra partnership leverages the nationwide network of Land O’Lakes’ agricultural retailers to deploy a farm data analytics tool, called the Truterra™ Insights Engine, to wheat farmers alongside expert agronomy advice. At the same time, the data tool helps connect the stewardship progress metrics that are meaningful for farmers and other partners in supply chains.
In 2017, we piloted our wheat sustainability program with local agricultural retailer The Mill in the Chesapeake Bay watershed area of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Then, in 2019, we began collaborating with Heritage Cooperative to launch a similar effort for the Lake Erie watershed region of Ohio. Both regions also supply wheat flour for several of our brands including: Pepperidge Farm bakery classics, Pepperidge Farm cookies including Farmhouse and Milano, Goldfish crackers, Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels, and Lance sandwich crackers.
By the end of 2019, we met our target — a year ahead of schedule. Our partners enrolled over 10,000 acres in Chesapeake Bay and 60,000 acres in Ohio. They’ve started to work with these farmers on improving fertilizer management and soil health.
Our 70,000-acreage achievement is an important milestone for an even more ambitious goal: source 50% of our wheat flour from acres enrolled in a sustainable agriculture program by 2025. As we press forward, the Truterra Insights Engine is collecting multiple years of acre-by-acre data that will help us track progress in each geography and to define specific opportunities on each field.
We’re also continuing to introduce innovations that make the Truterra tool and partnership truly best-in-class, and of real value to farmers. For example, in May, Truterra announced a partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. That partnership will integrate conservation specialists into the services at Heritage Cooperative to help farmers with even more sustainability opportunities.
Read more about our wheat sustainability work and our commitment to sustainable agriculture in our 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report.