Tyson Foods and Environmental Defense Fund have partnered to develop and deploy initiatives that support Tyson's sustainability strategy and help meet increasing consumer demand for more sustainably grown food.
The group's first project will focus on land stewardship and will aim to pilot and scale agriculture practices on 500,000 acres of corn that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve water quality and maximize farmer profitability.
The pilot will use cloud-based agricultural technologies from MyFarms and Farmers Business Network (FBN). Insights from the analysis of that data will inform sustainability practices at the field level.
"If the largest U.S. food company can prove the viability of farming practices that are good for the planet and for profits, it would be a game changer," notes Jenny Ahlen, director of the EDF+Business supply chain program. "We're using scientific analysis to measure the benefits of sustainable farming practices, help companies like Tyson evaluate the impact of their sustainability initiatives and inspire transparency across the supply chain."
MyFarms and FBN will enroll farmers in the initial sustainable agriculture project. Those enrolled in MyFarms will also have the opportunity to pilot a new scientific method, based on extensive scientific research compiled by EDF, for calculating nitrogen loss. Excessive nitrogen application is a primary water quality concern, contributes to agricultural GHG emissions and is a source of lost income for farmers.
"Developing a sustainable food system is important to our business and the planet," says Justin Whitmore, executive vice president of continuous improvement and chief sustainability officer, Tyson Foods. "Joining forces with EDF enables us to bring together the best of our joint expertise in supply chains and sustainable agriculture and deliver value to growers, businesses and the environment."
The partnership will also analyze sustainable data on farmland and will publicly communicate progress and best practices that surface from pilot projects.