Danone North America in venture with climate change firm
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Danone North America has announced a partnership with rePlant Capital, a financial services firm dedicated to reversing climate change. Over the next several years, rePlant will invest up to $20 million (€18.1m) to support Danone North America’s farmer partners with expenses related to converting to regenerative or organic farming practices. These practices increase biodiversity, enhance ecosystems and enrich soil, as part of the company and its partners’ broader commitments to addressing climate change.
The company is consistently pursuing new models of working with farmers to incentivise the adoption of new, sustainable farm management practices — for example, by maintaining long-term contracts with dairies to help alleviate short-term market volatility, thus allowing them to consider new ways of farming — and in 2018 committed to investing $6 million in soil health research over five years. By gaining a better understanding of the variables and nuances across growing regions, this research will enable Danone North America to better guide its farmer partners with regards to farm management and use of regenerative agriculture practices on their farms.
“As a company that is passionate about climate activism, we are pleased to be partnering with rePlant to support our farmers and bring new, innovative financial solutions to address climate change,” says Mariano Lozano, CEO of Danone North America. “Providing these loans mitigates the financial stress that transitioning to regenerative and organic farming practices places on our farmers and allows them to focus their energy on driving sustainable agriculture on their farms.”
The first of these loans has been provided to Kansas-based McCarty Family Farms, a partner of Danone North America for almost 10 years and co-owner of MVP dairy, winner of the International Dairy Foods Association 2020 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year award. McCarty family farm owners and fourth generation dairy farmers Mike, Clay, David and Ken McCarty will use the loan to install moisture probes on cropland surrounding their dairy, where water access issues are of concern, to reduce the amount of water used on crops that provide forage for the dairy cows. In addition to reducing water usage on their own farm, McCarty Family Farms is working with their local feed partnerships as well as the local watershed authority to see how this program may be expanded to other farms in the region to improve water consumption and aquifer longevity within the Ogallala aquifer.
“Our livelihood depends on the health of our natural resources,” says Ken McCarty of McCarty Family Farms and MVP Dairy. “We’ve always made caring for our land, air and water a top priority, so we are excited to receive the rePlant loan to help us continue to reduce water consumption on our farms and make a real impact in water conservation efforts in northwest Kansas.”