Forty million acres of U.S. land are dedicated to growing corn for animal feed. That’s roughly the land equivalent of the state of Florida. As the global demand for meat swells, so does the demand for feed grains.
Growing this corn requires a lot of fertilizer, yet up to 50 percent of fertilizer applied is lost, leading to air and water pollution as well as high costs for farmers.
MBGro, an innovative sustainability program developed by Smithfield Foods' Hog Production Division, is helping solve this problem. MBGro offers free agronomic consultation to farmers, with a goal of keeping more nitrogen in fields and out of waterways, while maximizing profits along the way.
As a story in today's Farm Journal noted, “Smithfield … hopes 75% of its grain sourcing acreage in the Southeast and Midwest will participate in [MBGro] by 2018.”
At the heart of MBGro is 25-year old agronomist Rachel Carr. I asked Rachel to tell me about her passion for sustainable agriculture, why she believes MBGro is a model for other protein companies, and about how cover crops played a role in her recent engagement. Read More