General Mills Steps toward Sustainability with Kansas Watershed Pilot

General Mills is piloting a three-year regenerative agriculture plan with farmers in Kansas’ Cheney Reservoir, a watershed that provides water to more than 400,000 Wichita residents.

The 650,000-acre watershed, of which over 99% of the land is used for agricultural purposes, was chosen with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to improve water quality in conjunction with a statewide strategy. Two dozen wheat growers in and around the watershed are participating, and they will meet with consultants from Understanding Ag, a regenerative agricultural consulting company, to  co-develop and implement regenerative management plans.

Regenerative agriculture employs practices meant to protect and intentionally enhance natural resources and farming communities, increase water infiltration and reduce soil erosion. The hope behind connecting a network of farmers in this region is that it will rapidly accelerate regionally specific learnings that can be shared broadly, said General Mills.

An additional 18 growers in Kansas will also receive support to enroll in the Soil Health Partnership Associate Program to study outcomes of reduced or no tillage, and cover cropping.

Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and social impact officer at General Mills, described the pilot as an important step for the company’s commitment to advance regenerative practices on 1 million acres of farmland by 2030. The company has also committed to improve soil health and to reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 28% across its full value chain by 2025.