Conservation groups are forming a partnership with food and agriculture businesses to push for more sustainable farming and cleaner water in Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.
The Midwest Row Crop Collaborative includes diverse members like The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund as well as Pepsi and Walmart.
Jill Kolling, director of sustainability at Cargill, says they plan to raise four-million dollars over the next five years to fund on-farm conservation programs.
Kolling says, “In these states, we’ll be working to optimize soil health practices and outcomes, reduce nutrient runoff into the rivers and streams of the Mississippi River Basin, maximize water conservation to reduce pressure on the Ogallala aquifer and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Other members of the group include the World Wildlife Fund, Monsanto, Kellogg and General Mills.
Kolling says in addition to fundraising, the collaborative will collate conservation research so farmers can easily review results.
Larry Clemens, with The Nature Conservancy, says aligning with agriculture across a vast landscape is a way to ensure food production goals are met while maintaining a commitment to land, water and wildlife resources.
Clemens says, “The Nature Conservancy is eager to help the collaborative leverage our expertise to accelerate solutions that match the scale of the challenges we face in this region, such as improving water quality across the Midwest and addressing the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The collaborative’s initial efforts will support the Soil Health Partnership, a farmer-led conservation program of the National Corn Growers Association.
Thanks to Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio