Smart and sustainable farming
How McCain works with farmers to implement Regenerative agriculture
(Sponsored) Known as the global leader in prepared food products, McCain Foods is working to innovate farming techniques and tackle challenges — creating a positive change for growers across the world. McCain prioritizes agronomy in their business to ensure healthier soils and create more sustainably sourced food. Being smart and sustainable in the way the world grows raw agricultural ingredients starts with soil health and McCain’s commitment to Regenerative agriculture.
McCain works directly with 3,500 farmers to build farm resilience, enhance soil health and yields, drive innovation and provide both technical and financial assistance to their farming partners to develop Regenerative agriculture practices.
Regenerative agriculture, as defined by McCain, is “an ecosystem-based approach to farming that aims to improve farmer resilience, yield and quality by improving soil health, enhancing biodiversity and reducing the impact of synthetic inputs.”
Kevin Schleicher, director of sales for Wysocki Family of Companies in Bancroft, Wisconsin, has seen a positive impact on his farm since implementing Regenerative agriculture techniques.
“We’ve seen increased productivity, higher specific gravity and better fry color with lower sugar ends on soils with enhanced CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity), soil test K and P levels and higher organic matter,” Schleicher said.
McCain’s Regenerative Agriculture Framework is designed to support best practices based on six key principles:
- Ensure farm resilience
- Armour soils, preferably with living plants
- Enhance crop and ecosystem diversity
- Minimize soil disturbance
- Reduce agro-chemical impact & optimize water use
- Integrate organic and livestock elements
The framework is meant to serve as a guide for farmers to support their farming progression toward a Regenerative model. McCain’s framework provides different levels of achievement of their goals across various levels including, Onboarding, Beginner, Master and Expert. McCain created two versions of the framework for both the Northern and Southern hemispheres to reflect the differences in soil types and weather.
“McCain Foods work hand-in-hand with us to develop goals and learn together along the way,” Schleicher said. “It takes strong partnerships across many channels to make a Regenerative system work.”
Due to an increase in unpredictable climate and weather changes, regulatory uncertainty and rising input costs, implementing smart and sustainable farming techniques such as Regenerative farming is vital. To combat these challenges, McCain is committed to implementing Regenerative agriculture practices across 100 percent of their potato acreage worldwide by 2030.
“Regenerative agriculture feels different as we are using our understanding of physical, biological, biochemical, physiological and other basic processes to create management systems that mitigate environmental risk and create positive impacts on the environment while maintaining yield and quality trajectory of modern agriculture. It is the merging of technology with agroecological principles,” Schleicher said.
McCain understands the importance of tailoring each Regenerative program to the individual farmer — considering all the significant differences across farms and potato regions. McCain conducts baseline surveys with growers informing them of regional goals and other action plans as well as investing in key research and development.
While this is the beginning of McCain’s Regenerative agriculture journey, they are committed to making a difference starting where their roots are — on the farm.
To learn more about McCain, visit www.mccain.com/sustainability/smart-sustainable-farming.
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