As it has been said before, two heads are better than one when it comes to problem solving. The same can be said in our industry when it comes to overcoming challenges, and Sysco and Cargill are proving it as the two food companies have announced a new partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to help ranchers throughout Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, and Colorado, take on the impacts of climate change. Together, the trio will help improve grasslands and wildlife habitat by creating one of the largest sustainable beef cattle grazing efforts in the U.S.
"The Southern Plains Grassland Program is a model for the impact possible through cross-industry collaboration. It's the level of impact that, at Sysco, we understand is critical to protect and preserve the environment for future generations," said Neil Russell, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Chief Communications Officer, Sysco. "The threat posed by climate change is a collective challenge, and together we can drive action to address this challenge."
The new collaboration between the three entities will form a public-private partnership, with $5 million in funding from Sysco and Cargill which will accelerate the implementation of sustainable grazing practices across 1 million acres in the Southern Great Plains over the next five years, according to a press release. The Southern Great Plains area is responsible for more than 30 percent of the beef produced in the U.S., giving the Southern Plains Grassland Program the potential to sequester up to 360,000 metric tons of carbon per year—the equivalent of taking 78,000 cars off of the road.
"The contributions from ranchers in the Southern Great Plains to protect land, resources and ecosystems are crucial to addressing climate change," said Misty High, President, Foodservice, Cargill Protein—North America. "We believe agriculture is how we can create a more resilient food system and efforts to scale sustainable grazing through the Southern Plains Grassland Program are a strong example of that belief in action."
As part of the program, NFWF will manage a competitive grant program that will allow nonprofit conservation groups, ranching collaboratives/associations, and agencies at the state and local level to engage with ranchers on a scale that has not been seen before in the region. The program will use a successful model that has been utilized successfully by NFWF in landscapes across the nation in the past.
The grants awarded by NFWF through the program will help strengthen the resilience of ranching communities by increasing the implementation of rancher-led sustainable grazing practices. This will have a far-reaching impact by:
"This new collaboration between Sysco, Cargill, and NFWF will bring vital financial and technical resources to the ranches of the Southern Plains, a region with incredibly productive grasslands, wildlife and a rich heritage of family ranching," said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. "Public-private partnerships are the key to helping agricultural producers voluntarily improve their operations while also enhancing natural resources. Both Sysco and Cargill recognize the responsibility that comes with their scale and the importance of leveraging their experience and resources to further drive sustainability in the industry."
The partnership between the three groups will help not only achieve the end goal of minimizing climate change impacts, but bolster the companies’ commitments to sustainability. The program supports Sysco's goal to partner with its major beef suppliers on sustainability projects that will result in positive impacts in the beef supply chain, from the ranch all the way to the consumer. Likewise, this collaboration also supports Cargill's BeefUp Sustainability initiative, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the company's North American beef supply chain by 30 percent by 2030.
To read the release in full, click here.
As companies across the deli industry continue to enhance sustainability efforts, Deli Market News will report the latest.