Here at Campbell, wheat is a key ingredient in many of our most popular cookies, crackers, and breads. The Bair and Mays farms are two of our wheat partners whose stewardship efforts are driving positive change. Read their stories and learn how their sustainability work is not only the right thing for the planet, but the right thing for the success of their farms.
Bair Farms: Land is a farmer’s largest asset
On Bair Farms in Wyandot County, Ohio, Nate Bair, his father Neil, and brother Ryan farm corn, soybeans and wheat, and raise cattle. Like many farmers, the Bair’s recognize that their land is their largest asset and know that the best way to protect that asset is to use sustainable farming practices.
Five years ago, Bair Farms decided to use cover crops on their entire farm, which is a strategy of growing a specific crop for the primary benefit of the soil. Shortly after, they converted their farm to “no-till,” a technique for growing crops without disturbing the soil through tillage like digging, stirring and overturning. Why the change? Nate explained, “Why would we want to keep losing organic matter from our soils rather than building it?”
Their cover crop strategy is creating a noticeable difference in their fields, even with the ever-changing weather conditions that farmers have been facing today.
“We try to talk to as many different no-till farmers and cover crop farmers as we can,” Nate says about the learning curve to adopting sustainable practices. “If you work together, you can get to where you want to be—not just on a single farm, but across a county, state and the country.”
Mays Farm: It’s about family and community
Like many farmers, the story of the Mays family farm, in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay area, isn’t just a story about business. It’s a story about family and community.
Sprawling over 3,000 acres, Toby Mays and his family grow soybeans, corn and wheat in addition to keeping approximately 125 dairy cows. Together with his wife Kelly, children Kit and Santana, and Kit’s childhood best friend Garrett, the family farm operation has been evolving and adapting to become more sustainable—both environmentally and economically.
Active in their community, the Mays family attends local grower meetings regularly, and is well-known for investing their time in environmental sustainability. Kelly, a substitute teacher in the community’s public-school system, works with the farm’s dairy herd, and donates her time to help promote youth in agriculture.
Over the years, the Mays farm has focused on ways to efficiently use fertilizer, which has led to improved yields and a reduced environmental impact. They also use cover crops, no-till, and soil sampling, a practice that shows available nutrients and other factors that can help inform growth and production.
Advancing farmer-led stewardship with Truterra
Last year, we expanded our successful collaboration with Truterra, a partnership to advance farmer-led stewardship efforts across Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania. This past summer, we announced two key milestones: the early completion of a goal to enroll 70,000 wheat acres into Truterra, and the release of year-on-year results demonstrating progress in the Chesapeake Bay, our pilot region.
The Campbell-Truterra partnership supports wheat farmers who grow wheat in the supply regions for several of our brands including Pepperidge Farm bakery classics, Milano cookies, Goldfish crackers, Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels, and Pretzel Crisps.
As part of this program, wheat farmers, like the Mays and Bair families, work together to gather farm data, allowing them to benchmark the impacts of their conservation practices while exploring the different ways they can further improve sustainability and profitability.
As an early adopter of the Truterra Insights Engine, the Mays Farm has been actively using the shared insights to identify additional opportunities to reduce runoff and protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
At Bair Farms, their relationship with Truterra helps them continuously look for other ways to improve their stewardship and return on investment. Truterra provides a peer group for support, and data to help mitigate climate-related risks.
Campbell is proud to partner with these farms and Truterra, to bring more sustainable snacking to your table.