The Nature Conservancy is working around the world with farmers, ranchers, fishers, and water managers to create sustainable supplies of food and water that reduce environmental impacts and promote economic growth and green supply chains. Our success depends on collaboration with businesses using agricultural products to create food for people … and their pets.
In 2017, Americans spent nearly $70 billion feeding and caring for the pets they love. And, since 2016, we have been collaborating with Nestlé Purina PetCare Company to improve soil health, reduce nutrient runoff into waterways, and increase irrigation efficiency on agricultural lands in the North America supply chain. Together, we are helping to empower farmers with the resources and tools they need to adopt conservation practices for enhanced crop yields, water quality and carbon storage capacity, while meeting the growing global demand for food, fuel, and fiber. Nestlé Purina’s support helps drive multiple initiatives:
- The Wabash River. This waterway runs through the heart of Indiana and Illinois corn and soy country and Nestlé Purina’s supply chain. While only contributing 1% of the water volume to the Mississippi River that flows to the Gulf of Mexico, the Wabash River contributes 11% of the overall load of excess nitrogen that enters the river as runoff from working lands and contributes to one of the world’s largest dead zones. An area of water depleted of oxygen, the dead zone chokes marine life, hampers recreation and tourism activities and jeopardizes the Gulf’s commercial fisheries. To combat this threat, Nestlé Purina is supporting TNC’s work to restore floodplains on marginal agricultural lands that are often prone to flooding. These restored floodplains can filter roughly 40% of the nutrient runoff that flows across them while providing vital co-benefits like carbon sequestration and habitat for wildlife.
- TNC’s reThink Soil Health Roadmap is a 10-point guide spanning science, economic and policy priorities to achieve widespread adoption of adaptive soil health systems on more than 50 percent of U.S. cropland by 2025. Nestlé Purina is helping to advance key points along the roadmap by supporting a vital partnership between the TNC, the Soil Health Institute and the Soil Health Partnership to improve soil health and, ultimately, drive positive economic and environmental outcomes for U.S farmers and society overall.
- The Central Nebraska Irrigation Project, which launched in collaboration with Nestlé Purina, aims to improve water sustainability in the beef supply chain. More than 50% of water consumed in beef production is used to irrigate the row crops that provide feed for cattle. The Central Nebraska Irrigation Project will enable adoption of cutting-edge technology to reduce water use for irrigation by installing smart sensors in fields and training farmers to manage the sensors through a smartphone app. Working with up to 50 farmers, this project is conservatively expected to save nine billion liters of water over three years (equivalent to the water used by more than 7,200 households over three years). Cargill is co-investing in this project, which was identified as a priority by the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, a group of large U.S. companies and NGOs committed to expanding agriculture solutions to achieve environmental and economic outcomes in three pilot states: Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.
By investing in these important and innovative bodies of work in North America, Nestlé Purina is creating benefits for farmers today and increasing our ability to provide food and water sustainably for generations to come.