Kellogg's Sustain Program Helps Nebraska Farmers

The world’s technology centers aren’t the exclusive dominions of innovation. The plains of Nebraska are home to Kellogg’s ambitious innovation project with the goal to improve the livelihoods of farming families and communities by growing more food, while supporting sustainable farming across more than 1 million acres in the Missouri River Valley.

Kellogg has partnered with United Suppliers Inc. and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to connect farmers to the SUSTAIN platform and drive adoption of improved farm management practices. The project in Nebraska is one of many programs that illustrates the necessity of unique partnerships between Kellogg, industry, farmers and non-government organizations (NGOs) to improve water quality, soil health and climate impacts both locally and globally.

By working together, this team can showcase the strength of partnering across the agricultural supply chain to deliver value to growers, business, and the environment.  We recently met with a panel of SUSTAIN partners to explore this unique approach.

Panel Participants:
Mary Tate, Global Sustainability Manager, Kellogg
Molly Toot, United Suppliers International
Jon Brabec, Marketing Manager for Frontier Coop
Matt Rezac, Farmer from Weston, NE
Andrea Chu, Corporate Partnerships Program, Environmental Defense Fund

Why are you participating in this program?

Andrea, EDF: Our mission is to improve water quality and climate impacts from agriculture, while ensuring that yields remain high and farmers remain profitable. Since 2014, we have collaborated with United Suppliers, one of the top agriculture retailers and supply companies, to co-develop and roll-out the SUSTAIN platform which is designed to identify and scale environmental friendly practices across farms to reduce greenhouse gas reductions and improve water quality. The SUSTAIN program partners with agriculture retailers who sell products to farmers and give advice on their farm practices. By educating the agricultural retail sector about sustainable agriculture, we will drive understanding and adoption across a large number of farmers.

We decided to join forces with Kellogg to help deploy SUSTAIN in Nebraska so that Kellogg could source grains more sustainably. As a household name (everyone knows Raisin Bran and Corn Flakes!), Kellogg is motivated to make agriculture in the US and around the world more sustainable, and they have the reach to have a truly scalable impact.

Mary, Kellogg: We are excited about this project for two reasons: 1) Agriculture retailers are great advisors for farmers, and this puts the latest information into the hands of the people who reach and advise farmers every day, and 2) these practices are win-wins. Farmers are always looking for new ways to benefit their farms and the environment, and we are focusing on practices that have a business case behind them. Through this train-the-trainer approach we expect to reach about 750 farmers across over 1,000,000 acres.

Jon, Frontier: At Frontier, we are working to protect the environment – and not just to be eco-friendly but to pioneer practices that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare. This project is exciting because we believe that if the farmers companies do business with are successful, the entire community will prosper. The concept is helping Nebraska small towns and schools continue to be here for the future.

Matt, Farmer: As a progressive farmer, I feel that it is my responsibility to be environmentally friendly. I also want to increase awareness about how agriculture is continuously finding ways to create efficiencies in fertilizer usage. I was excited to learn that Frontier and United Suppliers were partnering with Kellogg. I am happy to be working with a major food company to get the message out that agriculture is doing its part to improve the world we live in.

Molly, United Suppliers: We are excited to see the entire supply chain come together through the SUSTAIN program. Ag retailers provide a direct link to the farmers. Likewise, as a major food company, Kellogg provides the farmer and agriculture retailers with the opportunity to tell the full story of environmentally sustainable agriculture and how it impacts the supply chain.

What should consumers know about this program?

Molly, United Suppliers: Consumers are more environmentally aware than ever. They want to know where their food is grown and how it is raised. We are responding with environmentally friendly programs that help farmers reduce their footprint on the environment through practices that make their farming operation both profitable and sustainable over time. This is really a main objective for SUSTAIN.

Mary, Kellogg: At Kellogg, we strive to make simple food people love. And today, that means more than food that tastes great. It means food people can feel good about too. People care about where their food comes from, the people who grow and make it, and that there’s enough for everyone. We care too. That’s why we are partnering with ingredient suppliers, farmers and NGOs around the world to ensure that we are responsibly sourcing the ingredients that go into our foods, to enhance the sustainability of the ingredients themselves.

What do you think is the most interesting part of this program?

Andrea, EDF: It is exciting to see such a large company like Kellogg commit to working with agriculture retailers, who are outside of the direct food supply chain, to reach and support farmers. With consumers calling for additional transparency in their food, Kellogg’s engagement brings greater clarity around where and how food is being produced and elevates the positive environmental impacts of certain farmers. It is also exciting to see that by working with diverse constituencies, you can reach scale much faster than working alone.

What types of changes do you hope to see because of this program?

Matt, Farmer: SUSTAIN will help me to better protect the large investment I have made in my crop, saving me money because I can grow more bushels of corn on the same amount of soil/or fertilizer. It also helps me be even more environmentally friendly. It is a great feeling to know that I’m doing my part to help future generations and feed the world.

Mary, Kellogg: We hope that our partnership with EDF and United Suppliers provides support to farmers who are looking to implement conservation practices on their farm. We know that our largest environmental impact is where our ingredients are grown, so we are focusing on ways to encourage climate-smart agricultural practices that not only reduce the footprint of crops but also help to improve the livelihoods of the farmers who grow them.

Andrea, EDF: We hope to see water quality in Nebraska tangibly improve. We hope to see farmers leveraging this opportunity to tap into the expertise of SUSTAIN-trained agriculture retailers such as Frontier to not only improve nutrient use efficiency and soil health, but improve their own bottom-line. We hope that other agriculture retailers recognize the business opportunity of sustainably-grown crops and use programs like SUSTAIN to reach even more farmers and make fertilizer optimization and soil health practices the norm for farming.

Molly, United Suppliers: We currently have 30 agriculture retailers enrolled in 9 states and in Canada. Through this partnership, we are expanding our work with Frontier over this summer. What we hope to see is farmers adopting these practices to produce sustainably grown crops, which will result in a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, and cleaner air and water for all.

What should consumers know about this program?

Molly, United Suppliers: Consumers are more environmentally aware than ever. They want to know where their food is grown and how it is raised. We are responding with environmentally friendly programs that help farmers reduce their footprint on the environment through practices that make their farming operation both profitable and sustainable over time. This is really a main objective for SUSTAIN.

Mary, Kellogg: At Kellogg, we strive to make simple food people love. And today, that means more than food that tastes great. It means food people can feel good about too. People care about where their food comes from, the people who grow and make it, and that there’s enough for everyone. We care too. That’s why we are partnering with ingredient suppliers, farmers and NGOs around the world to ensure that we are responsibly sourcing the ingredients that go into our foods, to enhance the sustainability of the ingredients themselves.

What do you think is the most interesting part of this program?

Andrea, EDF: It is exciting to see such a large company like Kellogg commit to working with agriculture retailers, who are outside of the direct food supply chain, to reach and support farmers. With consumers calling for additional transparency in their food, Kellogg’s engagement brings greater clarity around where and how food is being produced and elevates the positive environmental impacts of certain farmers. It is also exciting to see that by working with diverse constituencies, you can reach scale much faster than working alone.

What types of changes do you hope to see because of this program?

Matt, Farmer: SUSTAIN will help me to better protect the large investment I have made in my crop, saving me money because I can grow more bushels of corn on the same amount of soil/or fertilizer. It also helps me be even more environmentally friendly. It is a great feeling to know that I’m doing my part to help future generations and feed the world.

Mary, Kellogg: We hope that our partnership with EDF and United Suppliers provides support to farmers who are looking to implement conservation practices on their farm. We know that our largest environmental impact is where our ingredients are grown, so we are focusing on ways to encourage climate-smart agricultural practices that not only reduce the footprint of crops but also help to improve the livelihoods of the farmers who grow them.

Andrea, EDF: We hope to see water quality in Nebraska tangibly improve. We hope to see farmers leveraging this opportunity to tap into the expertise of SUSTAIN-trained agriculture retailers such as Frontier to not only improve nutrient use efficiency and soil health, but improve their own bottom-line. We hope that other agriculture retailers recognize the business opportunity of sustainably-grown crops and use programs like SUSTAIN to reach even more farmers and make fertilizer optimization and soil health practices the norm for farming.

Molly, United Suppliers: We currently have 30 agriculture retailers enrolled in 9 states and in Canada. Through this partnership, we are expanding our work with Frontier over this summer. What we hope to see is farmers adopting these practices to produce sustainably grown crops, which will result in a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, and cleaner air and water for all.

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