Cargill partners with Purina to expand regenerative agriculture in pet food

By Staff
3 Min Read

Dive Brief:

  • Over the next three years, regenerative practices are expected to reduce Purina’s carbon footprint by up to 40% as it relates to grain supplied by Cargill. 

  • The partnership will support the adoption of these practices across more than 200,000 acres of corn and soybeans in the Midwest. Purina said it is investing to support farmers across several states in their transition to cover cropping, nutrient management and soil erosion control. 

  • The pet food company is aiming to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade, according to its sustainability goal. 

Dive Insight: 

Pet food consumption accounts for up to 30% of the environmental impacts from animal production in terms of use of land, water, fertilizer and crop protection products, according to estimates from a 2017 study from the University of Sydney, Australia. 

That large carbon paw print has increased interest in regenerative agriculture among pet food companies. Nestlé’s Purina has a goal to source half of its key ingredients from farmers adopting regenerative practices by 2030.

“We care about making quality pet food with responsibly sourced ingredients, and that’s why Purina is supporting farmers’ transition to regenerative agricultural practices, with soil health restoration at the forefront,”John Foster, global category leader of cereals and grains for Nestlé, said in a statement. “Partnerships like this help create shared value for farmers, pet owners and the planet.”

Other pet food manufacturers have forayed into regenerative agriculture to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. Cave Pets, for example, said Tuesday that it is the first pet nutrition company to receive certification from the Regenerative Organic Alliance.

In general, pet food manufacturers have more latitude to get creative in their sustainability efforts, with some looking to incorporate food waste – or even insects and invasive species – into their products. Companies like Arch Pet Food and Chippin use the invasive Asian carp, often considered too bony for human consumption, to sustainably feed furry friends in the U.S.

Cargill said its partnership with Purina advances its own sustainability goals, which includes scaling regenerative agriculture across more than 10 million acres of North American farmland by the end of the decade. Since 2020, the grain giant has advanced climate-smart practices across 880,000 acres.

“Our vision is to make regenerative agriculture commonplace across the industry,” Stewart Derechin, vice president and global partner leader at Cargill, said in a statement. “Through partnerships with customers like Nestlé Purina, we are helping farmers produce food more sustainably while also increasing the productivity and resilience of their farms.”

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