Nov 8, 2023
McCain Foods USA to use $6.9M in grant funding for soil improvement project

McCain Foods USA has been awarded $6.9 million in funding through a USDA conservation program as part of a soil improvement project.

The funds from the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program will be used as part of the “Improving Soil Health in Potato Supply Chains” project, according to a news release.

McCain Foods USA and partners Campbell Soup Co. and the Soil Health Institute will help potato farmers implement soil health and climate-smart agriculture practices and systems on more than 6,000 acres in Wisconsin and Maine.

McCain and Campbell both have corporate programs to help growers in their supply chains adopt regenerative agriculture practices and fight climate change.

“As potato growers face increasing challenges from climate change and variable weather, shifting towards smart and sustainable farming practices is vital,” Dan Metheringham, McCain Foods’ vice president of Agriculture North America, said in the release.

“We are profoundly grateful that USDA has invested nearly $7 million in our soil health project, which will advance our work with McCain growers and customers to re-imagine the way potatoes are grown. The funding award is an important step toward meeting McCain’s bold commitment to implement regenerative agricultural practices across 100% of our potato acreage worldwide by the end of 2030.”

The USDA funding will be used to scale up an existing soil health technical assistance partnership, supporting sustainable farming that prioritizes soil health through residue and tillage management, cover cropping, nutrient management, soil carbon amendment, and pest management.

Participating growers will form peer coaching cohorts to build conservation plans with support from SHI. McCain has piloted this model with SHI and growers in other regions, according to the release.

“Potatoes are a key ingredient in many of our products including soup and chips, so it is important for us to support our partner growers in adopting and increasing sustainable agricultural practices,” Stewart Lindsay, Campbell’s vice president of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, said in the release. “We are grateful for the USDA’s support and look forward to partnering to advance soil health and climate-smart agriculture practices in our supply chain.”

In 2021, McCain Foods established its Regenerative Agriculture Framework, designed to support farmers move toward a more regenerative potato farming model.

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