skip to main content

Cargill statement on water conservation efforts and sustainable beef supply chains

November 15, 2018

Cargill is dedicated to meeting the rapidly increasing consumer demand for protein, but we know we must protect our natural resources at the same time. We’re proud of our progress protecting water resources and advancing a more sustainable U.S. beef supply chain but there is always more to do.

As a company headquartered in the Midwest, we understand first-hand the importance of conserving watersheds and waterways for our families now and into the future. More than 50 percent of water used in U.S. beef production is dedicated to irrigating row crops that become feed for cattle. We are working every day to support efficient and sustainable production of those row crops. By adopting cost-effective irrigation practices, we can reduce the amount of water needed to produce cattle feed and the impact of nutrient run-off on local waterways.

Here are some of our water conservation efforts across the Midwest:

  • We are supporting work by The Nature Conservancy to protect lands and waters critical to the health of the Mississippi River in Minnesota. Our investments in easements, stream bank and floodplain restoration and other projects will help prevent pollutants such as nitrates and sediment from entering key Minnesota rivers and lakes.
  • We are partnering with the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative and others to reach 75 percent of row crop acres in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska with sustainable agricultural practices that will reduce nutrient run-off in the rivers and streams flowing into the Mississippi River Basin.
  • We are putting first-of-its-kind, cost-effective irrigation technology in the hands of Nebraska farmers, through a collaboration with Nestle Purina and The Nature Conservancy. The pilot will save an estimated 2.4 billion gallons of irrigation water over three years, or roughly 7,200 households, and then we can expand the collaboration to have an even greater impact.
  • We have partnered with Living Lands and Waters for 18 years to clean up major US rivers and their watersheds. Our work focuses on the protection, preservation and restoration of rivers, including those in Minnesota, as well as tree planting and other conservation efforts.

We also recognize this issue extends beyond Minnesota and beyond water conservation. Cargill is committed to a global sustainable beef supply chain. Read more about our ongoing work to produce sustainable protein for customers around the world at: Sustainable BeefCanadian Beef Sustainability Pilot, McDonald’s/Cargill Verify Sustainable Beef, Protecting Our Forests and Improving Soy Sustainability.