Nestlé, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Cargill are coming together to help scale the adoption of voluntary conservation practices that help fight climate change. Through this work, the companies will support vital habitat for native wildlife, while also sustaining a robust beef supply chain. In one of the largest corporate commitments to regenerative ranching in the U.S. to date, two of the world's largest food companies will invest a combined $15 million. This commitment will leverage up to $15 million in federal funds, leading to the activation of up to $30 million in grant funding over the next five years.
This partnership will bring together private landowners and local conservation organizations to support voluntary land management practices, improve water management, and restore wildlife habitats. The work helps generate carbon benefits across more than 15 states, including areas in the Great Plains, Mountain West, Midwest and Southeastern portions of the U.S.
The first set of NFWF-awarded grants made possible with this new partnership are expected to be announced in April 2023. Farmers and ranchers will then directly benefit from these funds by receiving technical and financial support to implement regenerative practices on their lands.
"At the heart of Cargill's BeefUp Sustainability program is the unique ability to connect strong partners, inventive solutions and financial resources to scale impact in the fight against climate change," said Jeffrey Fitzpatrick, Cargill BeefUp Sustainability Program lead. "Leveraging the long history with our partners, this partnership has uncovered a sweet spot for us in supporting local farmers and ranchers, and their communities, all the while increasing supply chain sustainability, decreasing impact on the planet and showcasing beef as a force for good."
The benefits from this partnership will help support thousands of cattle producers across the country as they implement voluntary practices that will help benefit hundreds of species, from migrating songbirds to elk to freshwater mussels. Investing in regenerative practices on 1.7 million acres over the next five years can sequester up to an estimated 845,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to NFWF. This can help sustain vital grassland habitats, improve water quality for rivers and streams and maintain the quality and quantity of forage for animal health.
"This partnership is activating the work needed in our supply chains to help create a regenerative, healthy food system," said Emily Johannes, director, Diverse and Sustainable Sourcing at Nestlé USA. "Working together as an industry leverages expertise and helps achieve the scale that is critical to accelerating the shift to regenerative farming. Taking action on regenerative agriculture means supporting farmers and ranchers to implement on-farm practices that help replenish the land, absorb carbon, and enhance the health of our environment."
The collaborative efforts of this partnership will serve as an action-based roadmap for sustainability leaders who are invested in creating positive impact in their supply chains but may not know where to start.
"The conservation challenges of our time can feel daunting, but when we engage public and private institutions, we are able to unlock potential — in technical expertise, in funding and in results," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "This partnership with two of the world's largest food companies will have a nationally significant grassland impact while also benefitting ranching families at the local level."