Regenerative agriculture is one of the methods being deployed in farming to reduce the impacts of climate change — and now two big food retailers are jumping in with their own initiative to restore 600,000 acres.
General Mills, Walmart — and its warehouse brand Sam’s Club — have teamed up to help accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture on 600,000 acres in the United States by 2030. The acreage amounts to the number of acres General Mills engages to source key ingredients for its products sold through Walmart and Sam’s Club.
Regenerative agriculture generally involves improving soil health and water quality, as well as enhancing biodiversity and reducing emissions through farming and grazing techniques, such as cover crops, nutrient management, and reduced tillage. The techniques are increasingly being adopted across the globe as a climate change mitigation strategy.
Recently, food processing company ADM and Farmers Business Network (FBN), a farmer-to-farmer network and e-commerce platform based out of San Carlos, California, announced their plans to expand regenerative agriculture programs, providing financial and technical support to farmers. Nestlé piloted a weather insurance program for coffee farmers in Indonesia and contributed to a guidebook for regenerative agricultural practices to address soil health and biodiversity in the region.
Regenerative Agriculture Action
General Mills and Walmart are focusing on projects that will advance regenerative agriculture outcomes across crops such as wheat in the Northern and Southern Great Plains. The initial projects will be supported by grants administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).
“Through this partnership, we will work hand-in-hand with Walmart and Sam’s Club to help regenerate the acres of land in the key regions where we source ingredients for our shared business,” Jon Nudi, group president, North America retail at General Mills, said in a press release. “We are excited by the opportunity to bring our products, including Pillsbury refrigerated dough and Blue Buffalo pet food and treats, to Walmart shelves more sustainably, with the help of our merchants and farmer partners.”
The companies said the initiative aligns with their aims to spur industry-wide changes. Namely, it advances General Mills’ goal of the adoption of regenerative agriculture on one million acres by 2030 and contributes to Walmart’s goal, in collaboration with the Walmart Foundation, to protect, more sustainably manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land by 2030.
Seven States Will Take Part in Sustainable Agriculture Plan
The efforts will target seven states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota. The projects have two goals:
- Support regenerative agriculture production in the U.S.
- Elevate the potential for more resilient yields for farmers through improving soil health, watersheds, biodiversity, climate change, and farmer economic resilience
The support grants from NFWF will provide funds to local grantee organizations and bring education and coaching resources to accelerate the transition to regenerative agriculture.