Land O'Lakes, Mars look to boost dairy sustainability, reduce GHGs

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

 © GettyImages/nuiiko
© GettyImages/nuiiko

Related tags Dairy Greenhouse gas Sustainability

Land O’Lakes and Mars Wrigley are seeking new products, including feed and feed additives, services and ideas to use in an on-farm trial as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on dairy farms.

Minnesota-based Land O’Lakes and Chicago-based Mars Wrigley announced the start of the dairy sustainability project at the end of May, and a selection of submissions are set to be highlighted at a pitch event in August.

The goal of that event is to gather ideas and support the progress and development of products and services to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

The first stage of the multi-step initiative looked to collate proposals to be considered for the on-farm pilot. The competition was open to companies and entrepreneurs with new products or services.

The companies hope to identify and support new products, services or practices that can help dairy farmers to “safeguard”​ natural resources, said Ashley Walton, global category director for dairy with Mars Wrigley.

“Feed and feed ingredient solutions are absolutely welcome as part of this,” ​he told FeedNavigator. “We are open to a range of solutions that contribute to meeting the science-based targets set out in our Sustainable in a Generation plan.”

“As a farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes brings an on-farm lens to sustainability and we know solutions to safeguard natural resources are farmer-led and farmer-driven,”​ added Pete Kappelman, senior vice president for member and government relations with Land O’Lakes.

“Mars and Land O’Lakes share the goal of ensuring a healthy planet, and this pitch event is a way we can help bring innovation to the forefront that could help dairy farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the farm.”

“Mars Wrigley and Land O’Lakes are perfectly positioned to work together on elevating new tools and solutions for dairy sustainability,”​ said Walton. “We know the world is facing significant challenges, like climate change.”

In addition to collecting industry ideas through the pitch event, Mars is set to invest $1bn to address challenges to sustainable production, he added.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions across our supply chain is a vital component of the Mars Sustainable in a Generation plan and our dairy supply chain is a significant contributor to our emissions,” ​he said. “Our intention, through this new pitch event, is to work together with Land O’Lakes to highlight and implement new strategies to equip dairy farmers to lead progress on GHG emissions reduction.”

Project highlights and pathway

The idea-focused project collected submissions for the upcoming pitch event up until the end of June. The submissions gathered are set to be reviewed by experts from both Mars and Land O’Lakes.

Entrants were asked to address several questions including how the product or service helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), whether there are other social or sustainability benefits from using the product or service or whether the product or service could help dairy producers better meet current or upcoming emission regulations, said Land O’Lakes.  

In August, a selection of the products, services or tools submitted will be presented to a group of judges along with agricultural retailers and dairy producers during the pitch event, the cooperative said. A winning project will be chosen from those presented to be used in an on-farm trial later in 2019.  

“It’s all about elevating new tools and solutions in our industry, which we believe carries a benefit spanning dairy farming,”​ Kappelman told us.

One of the solutions submitted is set to be piloted on the dairy farm of a Land O’Lakes member, with support from Mars Wrigley, he said. The goal of the pilot is to provide a “tangible”​ process to bring the selected service or tool to use at scale.

“We are excited to showcase the great work of entrepreneurs across the dairy sector who may have promising new products and solutions to help dairy farmers as they continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,”​ he said.  

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