Insights from 10,000 cropland acres in Maryland and Pennsylvania indicate that net on-farm greenhouse gas emissions were near-zero
ARDEN HILLS, Minn., and CAMDEN, N.J., August 6, 2020 – Truterra, LLC, the sustainability business at Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives, Campbell Soup Company, and The Mill, a Land O’Lakes agricultural retailer, today announced the results from year two of an agricultural sustainability pilot project.
While the adoption of conservation practices needs to be tracked over a longer period of time to assess impact and sustainability, the year-two results suggest important progress. Truterra and The Mill will identify opportunities based on these year-over-year insights, and work with farmers to continue to advance their stewardship and profitability in 2020 and beyond.
Using the Truterra™ Insights Engine, a best-in-class farm sustainability data tool, participating farmers and project partners tracked, aggregated and reported environmental and economic outcomes of on-farm stewardship practices across 10,000 acres in the Chesapeake Bay region of Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) was instrumental in building the original pilot structure.
The project focuses on measuring and accelerating stewardship on farms growing wheat in rotation in the supply regions for several Campbell brands such as Pepperidge Farm bakery classics, Pepperidge Farm cookies including Farmhouse and Milano, Goldfish crackers and Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels.
Below are illustrative insights from participating project acres.
• Participating acres were GHG emissions-neutral. Overall, results tracked in the Truterra™ Insights Engine show near-zero net on-farm greenhouse gas emissions across all acres. For some acres, net emissions were negative, primarily driven by adoption of conservation tillage and cover crops. As regenerative agriculture – the potential for farming practices to make a net-positive impact on climate and other natural resources – gains greater adoption, this project provides new data showing the positive impacts of farmer-led and farmer-driven stewardship.
• Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) improved between 2018 and 2019. In 2019, the average NUE across the wheat acres was 1.14 pounds of nitrogen per bushel. For wheat, a basic NUE score is 2.0 or higher, while an advanced NUE score is closer to 1.0 and indicates that farmers have optimized yield while minimizing environmental risk. Using crop nutrients more efficiently saves farmers money and mitigates the risk of nutrient loss into the environment.
• Soil erosion declined between 2018 and 2019, a step towards improving soil health. Sheet and rill erosion, which create movement in the topsoil, the most productive asset of farms, declined between 2018 and 2019. Farmers that implement strong practices to boost soil health will see lower erosion. Both diverse crop rotations and an increase to 95% of all acres using no-till management are positive drivers of soil health.
“These data help to provide proof of concept for farmer-led, and ag retailer-supported, stewardship efforts. While the concept has been popular for some time, insights from this project suggest that smart farm management practices can help to slow and mitigate the results of climate change, while supporting greater resilience to the impacts of a changing climate and farm profitability,” said Jason Weller, Vice President, Truterra, LLC. “We are energized by this snapshot of data that signals the potential for a real and lasting impact on conserving our natural resources when we bring private sector resources to bear to support farmer-led stewardship.”
The goal of the Campbell-Truterra project, launched in 2018, is to assess how working through farmers’ most trusted advisor – the agricultural retailer – to deploy precision tools can result in adoption of conservation practices and lead to positive environmental outcomes, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions on farms and improved water quality in the Chesapeake Bay region. Additionally, the tools strengthen farm profitability and the business case for stewardship by modeling the field-by-field return-on-investment of conservation practices, while also equipping growers to benefit from incentives made available through the U.S. Farm Bill and other programs.
“This project has provided an awesome platform for our growers to share their story that is built on the success of conservation with the data to back it up,” said Tim Hushon, Truterra Champion, The Mill. “Opportunities to engage more growers about the Truterra™ Insights Engine excites us and can only drive positive outcomes for the environment. Growers are the stewards of the land and this project has given them a piece of the recognition they deserve.”
With a shared vision of making every farm sustainable, Truterra and Campbell are working together to continue to scale this model. Campbell recently announced that it has reached its goal of enrolling 70,000 acres in the Truterra™ Insights Engine in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio, a year ahead of schedule.
“Our project with Truterra has been essential for achieving our goal to drive sustainable agriculture on 70,000 acres of wheat farmland by 2020. Our partnership links sustainability to financial returns for the farm, which aligns with our sustainable agriculture priorities,” reported Dan Sonke, Campbell’s Director of Sustainable Agriculture. “We are excited by the potential to drive more regenerative practices on farms in our supply regions.”
About Truterra, LLC
Truterra (formerly Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN) is a leading stewardship solutions provider, advancing and connecting sustainability efforts throughout the food system with scale – from farmers to ag retailers to partners like food companies. Truterra positions farmers for success by providing them tools and resources to establish stewardship baseline and track progress on every field they farm. The Truterra™ network brings together the best in agricultural technology and on-farm business management to drive sustainability across the food system, feeding people, safeguarding the planet and supporting farmer livelihoods. Truterra was launched in 2016 by Land O’Lakes, Inc., a member-owned cooperative that spans the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods.
About Campbell Soup Company
Campbell (NYSE:CPB) is driven and inspired by our purpose, “Real food that matters for life’s moments.” For generations, people have trusted Campbell to provide authentic, flavorful and affordable snacks, soups and simple meals, and beverages. Founded in 1869, Campbell has a heritage of giving back and acting as a good steward of the planet’s natural resources. The company is a member of the Standard and Poor’s 500 and the FTSE4Good Index. For more information, visit www.campbellsoupcompany.com or follow company news on Twitter via @CampbellSoupCo.
About The Mill
Since 1986, agricultural retailer The Mill has delivered quality products and services to farmers. Headquartered in Bel Air, Maryland, The Mill has seven retail locations that includes a complete agronomy services team. The company’s services spread throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The Mill’s Agronomy Division began in 2003 and has expanded into a team of five Certified Crop Advisors, two precision ag managers and seven professional fertilizer applicators. Offering farmers a combination of practices, products and technologies available to help maintain soil health, improve nutrient use efficiency, and minimize environmental impact. The Mill prides itself on the valuable relationships it has developed and maintained with farmers and other environmental, government and university organizations.