Blog
Published on 10/28/2019

Building on a Successful Model to Support Farmer-Led Stewardship in Ohio

We are expanding our successful collaboration with Campbell Soup Company. Together, we’ll work with Heritage Cooperative and Ohio farmers to advance farmer-led stewardship.

Across America, farmers make decisions every day that impact the health of the air, land and water. They are leading stewards of our environment, because safeguarding the planet is central to the future of their farms.
 
Since 2017, Campbell Soup Company and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN have collaborated to support farmers. We have worked with local farmers and a local agricultural retailer, The Mill, to advance stewardship efforts across 10,000 acres of wheat in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
 
Now we are greatly expanding this work. Together with the Ohio-based Heritage Cooperative and central Ohio farmers, we are expanding our pilot program to include 60,000 wheat acres in central Ohio.
 
Campbell operates two bakeries in Ohio, located in Ashland and Willard, that make cookies and crackers.

“This expansion of our existing work into Ohio is a natural fit,” says Daniel Sonke, Director of Sustainable Agriculture for Campbell Soup Company. “Campbell operates two bakeries in Ohio to which local farmers provide wheat, a key ingredient in our crackers and cookies.” 
 
As part of this program, wheat farmers in Ohio can join farmers in Maryland and Pennsylvania in using the Truterra Insights Engine to gather farm data. This will allow them to benchmark the impact of their existing conservation practices. Farmers will also be able to use the tool’s advanced modeling capabilities to explore ways they could further improve sustainability and profitability, acre-by-acre and field-by-field.
 
Individual farm data is kept private; but, using the regional dataset, Campbell and Land O’Lakes will be able to find opportunities for conservation improvement across central Ohio. This has already worked in Maryland and Pennsylvania. There, baseline data provided a snapshot of conservation practices on participating farms and helped chart a course for potential areas of improvement for each.
 
For example, we learned that more than half of the participating acres in Maryland and Pennsylvania use cover crops to reduce erosion and soil nutrient loss. Three-quarters of participating acres split fertilizer applications, which can also lessen nutrient loss. And we learned about other areas where farmers can make further improvements with additional soil management practices, with the help of The Mill’s team of advisers.

“Our work alongside Campbell is all about supporting farmers, and local ag retailers like Heritage Cooperative, to benchmark their leadership and use technology to strive for an even greater impact,” says Matt Carstens, senior vice president of Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN. “Working together, we can harness data and insights for better analysis and assessment, help Ohio farmers target their stewardship efforts, and help Campbell continue to gain a more transparent view of their supply chain as they strive to provide a sustainable product for consumers.”
 
The ultimate goal, he says, is to equip innovative, forward-looking Ohio wheat farmers with new tools to help protect the air, land and water – and the economic health of their farm – while supporting sustainability across the supply chain.
 
If you’re an Ohio farmer interested in learning more, we want to hear from you! For more information, contact Heritage Cooperative or visit www.heritagecooperative.com/