The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has announced a partnership with Sysco and Cargill, two of the world's largest food companies, aimed at helping ranchers in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, and Colorado address the impacts of climate change.
As part of the public-private Southern Plains Grassland Program, the companies will provide a total of $5 million over five years to accelerate the implementation of sustainable-grazing practices across a million acres in the Southern Great Plains, an area responsible for approximately 30 percent of the beef produced in the United States. According to NFWF, the partnership has the potential to sequester up to 360,000 metric tons of carbon a year, the equivalent of removing 78,000 passenger vehicles from the road annually.
To that end, NFWF will manage a competitive grant program and will work with nonprofit conservation groups, ranching collaboratives/associations, and agencies at the state and local level to engage ranchers in the region — a model it has used successfully to protect other landscapes across the country. Grants awarded through the initiative will be focused on strengthening the resilience of ranching communities by scaling the implementation of rancher-led sustainable-grazing practices, including rotational grazing, improvements to infrastructure, control of invasive vegetation, and a combination of interventions based on the needs of individual ranchers, soil types, and climate.
"This new collaboration between Sysco, Cargill, and NFWF will bring vital financial and technical resources to the ranches of the Southern Plains, a region with incredibly productive grasslands, wildlife, and a rich heritage of family ranching," said NFWF executive director and CEO Jeff Trandahl. "Public-private partnerships are the key to helping agricultural producers voluntarily improve their operations while also enhancing natural resources. Both Sysco and Cargill recognize the responsibility that comes with their scale, and the importance of leveraging their experience and resources to further drive sustainability in the industry."