Friday, October 10, 2014

WalMart And Nitrogen

Food companies like Walmart have become more active in the environmental impact of agricultural practices.  "On Monday, Walmart held its Global Sustainability Event at its Home Office in Bentonville, Arkansas. The webcast of this event was held online.

This seminal event focused on food sustainability, and Walmart’s extensive efforts to manage its supply chain. Many regard this as a promising approach to attaining sustainability, through corporate initiatives rather than government policies. Walmart, the world’s largest employer with revenues equivalent to the GDP of Belgium, is taking advantage of its unique place in the global economy to achieve sustainability goals.  Walmart estimates that about 45% of its supply-chain greenhouse gas impact is associated with nitrous oxide emissions from nitrogen fertilizer use.

We were very pleased with two important references to our Adapt-N tool during the event.  If you view the webcast, you will see at 23:25 minutes mention of the nitrogen fertilizer savings of "Donald", which refers to Robert and Rodney Donald of Cayuga County, NY (briefly seen in a picture with our Bianca Moebius-Clune). At 30:00, you can see a short presentation by Tim Richter, Iowa farmer, where he talks about the benefits of Adapt-N for his farm.

Walmart’s initiatives are quite impressive (also: sustainable sourcing; reducing food waste, putting stores in food deserts, etc.), and they are likely to achieve sustainability gains like no other company. Interesting times, and happy to be part of it!"

This is from my friends at Cornell who developed the Adapt-N program to help farmers understand what level of nitrogen in their soil is most profitable, particularly in corn.  I've heard reports from scientists that the program is helping their clients manage nitrogen.

We are seeing more involvement from food suppliers on the food message to consumers.

Is this a good thing?

Ed Winkle

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