The commitment will encourage grain farmers to adopt more efficient practices with fertilizers and take additional measures to reduce water runoff and soil loss.
“Each day our team members are defining what it means to achieve our aspiration of sustainably feeding the world. This is a big step that is part of our ongoing and deepening commitment to environmental stewardship,” Justin Whitmore, executive vice president corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson, said. “We’ve made significant progress toward previously announced goals related to workplace safety and fully expect similar momentum with today’s land stewardship target.”
Tyson uses corn and soybeans that it buys to feed its poultry and buys grain-fed cattle and hogs, but does not own any grain farms. Expectations are that the initiative will reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by the company’s supply chain.
“The world needs a more sustainable food system, and we believe it’s up to big companies like ours to set the pace with bold goals that help protect the planet while also enabling us to feed a growing world,” said Tom Hayes, president and CEO of Tyson. “We look forward to collaborating with grain farmers, environmental groups and others as we implement this new initiative.”
Tyson expects to work with at least one third-party organization on a program to encourage corn farmers to adopt practices that reduce fertilizer use and soil loss, as well as collaborate with environmental groups such as the Nature Conservancy and academic experts to reach its target.
“The Nature Conservancy would like to congratulate Tyson Foods on its ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its own operations, support improved environmental practices on two million acres of cropland, and reduce the amount of water used to produce each pound of food,” said Scott Simon, Arkansas director of the Nature Conservancy. “We look forward to working with the company to implement these influential goals in some of the most critical supply chains and geographies for our conservation mission.”
The 2 million-acre target is enough land to grow corn to feed all of Tyson’s annual broiler chicken production, as well as a some of the pigs and cattle the company buys from independent farmers and ranchers.
Tyson purchases an increasing percentage of grain through its Local Grain Services program, which sources grain closer to where the birds are raised, reducing the energy use associated with transportation.
Other points Tyson focused on in its Fiscal Year 2017 Sustainability Report include:
• Food: 100 percent of Tyson Foods’ K-12 commodity chicken products contain no artificial ingredients and the USDA-verified claim of chicken raised with No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) for the 2018-2019 school year.
• Workplace: In FY2017, Tyson Foods announced a goal to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses by 15-percent-year-over-year. In FY2017, we reduced our total recordable incident rate by 22 percent as compared to our FY2016 performance.
• Animal well-being: Tyson Foods continues to provide increased transparency by releasing more details about the Tyson FarmCheck program, which involves the third-party, on-farm animal well-being audits. The company has also implemented the industry’s largest third-party remote video auditing system to monitor live animal handling in our poultry plants.