MINNEAPOLIS — A collaboration designed to research soil health practices on wheat farms — and extol the benefits to 125,000 farmers who cultivate those fields — received a $735,000 shot in the arm from General Mills, Inc.
The National Wheat Foundation and the Soil Health Partnership will use the funds over the next three growing seasons for research and farmer outreach to promote widespread adoption and implementation of soil health practices on U.S. agricultural farmland.
The N.W.F. will leverage a network of farms established by the data-driven S.H.P. to increase participation and share wheat production data and sustainability metrics. The partnership works to quantify the economic and environmental benefits of soil health practices, which include reduced tillage, use of cover crops in winter and advanced nutrient management. In addition to improved crop yield, such practices enhance water quality, increase drought resilience, build flood resistance and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
|John Church, chief supply chain officer for General Mills|
“If we intend to see widespread adoption of these practices, we have to demonstrate both environmental and economic benefits over the long term,” said John Church, chief supply chain officer for General Mills.This isn’t the consumer foods giant’s first investment in soil health. The latest contribution puts the company’s recent financial commitments to the cause at nearly $3 million. General Mills also has partnered with the S.H.P. and the N.W.F to provide on-farm mentorship in advanced nutrient management and tillage methods.