USA – Consumer goods and grain trading merchant, General Mills has committed to advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland by 2030, with a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The program focuses on addressing soil health, biodiversity, farmer economic resilience and climate change targeting to alleviate the impact of the global food system on climate change.

According to the company, the global food system accounts for roughly one-third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 70% of water consumption, thus need to create a sustainable planet.

Adoption of regenerative agricultural practices will help achieve a stable supply chain by promoting farming practices that protect and enhance natural resources and farming communities.

To protect communities, the planet and making land more resilient to extreme weather conditions, General Mills said it will partner with key suppliers to drive adoption across key ingredients including oats, wheat, corn, dairy feed and sugar beets.

“We have been feeding families for more than 150 years and we need a strong planet to enable us to feed families for the next 150 years,” said Jeff Harmening, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills.

“We recognize that our biggest opportunity to drive positive impact for the planet we all share lies within our own supply chain, and by being a catalyst to bring people together to drive broader adoption of regenerative agriculture practices.”

Improving soil health and reducing emissions

General Mills will initiate on-farm training and education academies focusing on farmers in North America where the company sources oats for Cheerios, Annie’s, Cascadian Farm, Nature Valley and Blue Buffalo.

The company has granted US$650,000 grant to non-profit Kiss the Ground to educate growers on using soil health practices to increase farm profitability, build resiliency into the land and decrease input costs.

“Investing in soil health and regenerating our soils has numerous benefits including water infiltration, reduced pest pressure, resilience to unpredictable weather, and reducing greenhouse gasses,” said Lauren Tucker, executive director of Kiss the Ground.

“We have an opportunity to not just sustain our natural resources, but to restore them for generations to come.

We can only advance the adoption of these practices that benefit people and the planet if we partner with and support our farmers.”

The new strategy builds on General Mill’s commitment to improve soil health and to reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 28% across its full value chain by 2025.

The company said it is nearly halfway to reaching the ambitious goal, with its GHG emissions footprint down 13% in 2018 compared to 2010.