ARDEN HILLS, Minn. — Nestlé Purina PetCare has long been a leading voice on sustainability and climate action, recognizing the important role farmers and ag retailers play as stewards of the land. The company is leveraging the Truterra network, rooted in the Land O’Lakes cooperative model, to partner with farmers and drive sustainability at the source of their ingredients.
Through this effort, farmers like Tim Daly and Jack Smith, both of Iowa, are seeing the positive impacts of new practices. Adopted as part of a systems approach to improving soil health, water and air quality, and supporting farm profitability, these practices can help improve resilience to future extreme weather events.
Tim Daly has been prioritizing sustainability on his family’s land for decades. When Daly was still in high school, his father purchased their farm’s first chisel plow and now, through several years and new iterations of tools and technology, Daly’s 600 acres in Bankston, Iowa, are now 100% no-till and monitored with the Truterra™ sustainability tool. He plants cover crops to support his corn, soybeans, and alfalfa and some of the grain Daly grows goes into production for Nestlé Purina.
“My father told me that you want to be a good steward of the land, that means taking care of it,” Daly says. “I don’t want any of my soil leaving the farm and I want the water run-off when we get rain to be as clean as it can be. What we do when we plant helps keep that water crystal clear.”
The cover crops on Daly’s farm have not only positively affected the topsoil and the water, but also decreased feed costs for his cattle and improved nitrogen fixing for his corn. Daly says he is grateful he can track all of that using the Truterra™ sustainability tool.
“If you want to change a cover crop recipe, the technology will show you what it could do to your bottom line,” Daly says. “You can look at that score and see that you have support behind your decisions. It shows me that what we’re doing is making an impact.”
Daly’s commitment to conservation management practices, along with the help of the Truterra™ sustainability score, help contribute to his bottom line and help him take the best overall care of his land.
In Dubuque, Iowa, Jack Smith has farmed his family’s land for the last 45 years. As the fifth generation to do so, he takes pride in the farm’s 170-year-old history. He also embraces the technologies that he says will help ensure continued productivity for years to come.
“We need to be proactive in cleaning up our water and the soil,” Smith says. “They are our most valuable assets, and if we take good care of them, then we will be economically successful.”
The Smith family farm’s main enterprise is a cow-calf operation, but through their on-farm sustainability practices and use of the Truterra™ sustainability tool as part of the Nestlé Purina partnership, Smith is seeing how conservation management is paying off on his acres of soybeans, corn, oats, hay and sorghum growing just 15 miles west of the Mississippi.
“A lot of the old ways are good when it comes to animal husbandry and taking good care of your livestock,” Smith says. “With the crops, you have to embrace as much of the technology as you can and that’s where Truterra has been so valuable to us.”
Smith works with his local retailer, Innovative Ag Services (IAS), to use the Truterra™ sustainability tool to quantify the steps he takes toward water and soil conservation and track the potential impact of other changes to his farming practices. Smith can maintain his family’s century-old commitment to the stewardship of their land and improve his own environmental footprint as he and his sons grow the ingredients that feed into Nestlé Purina’s supply shed.
“I know the generation before me had a sense of conservation and they wanted to take good care of this farm,” Smith says. “I think it just makes sense to continue that and make it better so we can leave these places better than we found them – even if we did find them in pretty good condition.”
To learn more about how Truterra works with companies to meet sustainability and emissions reduction targets, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purina has had a presence in Iowa since 1927 and operates pet food factories in Clinton, Davenport and Fort Dodge, with approximately 1,000 employees across the state.