General Mills has partnered with dairy cooperative Foremost Farms and consultancy Understanding Ag to launch a three-year regenerative dairy pilot in Michigan, US.
General Mills – which produces yogurts for the Yoplait, Liberté and Mountain High brands – claims that the pilot will seek to reduce carbon emissions, improve soil health and animal welfare while boosting profitability for dairy farmers.
Three dairy farms have been selected for the pilot. These farms collectively manage more than 14,000 acres of farmland, and were chosen for their proximity to General Mills’ dairy manufacturing facility in Reed City, Michigan, which produces a variety of Yoplait products.
According to General Mills, regenerative agriculture practices will be implemented on 1,500 acres of farmland. These practices will include the introduction of cover crops, plant diversity and adaptive grazing, which will help to strengthen soil health.
Regenerative agriculture practices help to reduce carbon emissions by storing carbon in the soil. These practices can then improve water infiltration, improve nutrient cycling and reduce soil erosion, which can make farms more resilient to extreme weather events.
This is the third regenerative agriculture programme that the company has launched, and the first for its dairy supply chain. The firm made a commitment in 2019 to advance regenerative agriculture practices on 1 million acres of farmland by 2030, and earlier this year, General Mills partnered with 24 wheat growers in Kansas to introduce a multi-year regenerative agriculture initiative.
Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and social impact officer at General Mills, said: “In order for regenerative agriculture to be successful, it must first be economically viable for farmers as a lever to help build operational and financial resilience.
“With this pilot, General Mills is committed to ensuring that the transition to regenerative practices will be beneficial to our dairy partners and enhance the overall health of their farms.
“We’re excited to be working closely with our supplier Foremost Farms and consultants at Understanding Ag to help us get this work underway and measure the impact.”
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