Alliance to support dairy farming into the future

06-08-2019 | |
Photo: Chris McCullough
Photo: Chris McCullough

Numerous global agricultural companies have united to form an alliance – Farming for Generations – to support dairy farming into the future.

With the world’s population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, farming and food systems need to be transformed to address a range of environmental and health challenges. The alliance is convinced that agriculture is a solution and that dairy farming, specifically, has a key role to play in building the sustainable food systems of tomorrow. The goal for this unique global collaboration is clear: to support dairy farmers to adopt regenerative agricultural practices that preserve and renew our planet’s resources, respect animal welfare, and ensure the long-term economic viability of farms for the next generation.

The alliance

Led by global food industry leader Danone, Farming for Generations draws on the expertise of leaders from the whole agricultural value chain including animal health and welfare companies MSD Animal Health, Neogen and FutureCow . It also includes animal nutrition and health company DSM, crop nutrition leader Yara, crop science company Corteva Agriscience, and artificial intelligence agri-food start-up Connecterra. The Netherlands-based Wageningen University and Research, renowned for its food and food production research, will be a research and advisory partner.

This new body will initially work together with 25 dairy farms in the USA, the EU and Russia to identify best practice solutions and innovations across different farming models, farm sizes and geographies. From this research, the body aims to find viable and replicable solutions which will be shared and scaled up within the full network of the alliance partners.

Eight global agri companies have formed Farming for Generations to support dairy farming into the future. Photo: Chris McCullough

Eight global agri companies have formed Farming for Generations to support dairy farming into the future. Photo: Chris McCullough

Consumers conscious of food choices

Farming for Generations realises consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental and social impacts of their food choices. New scientific studies are working to define ‘sustainable diets’ that can provide healthy and nutritious food to the growing world population while respecting environmental limits. Regenerative agriculture has a lead role to play in delivering this ambition by protecting soil, water and biodiversity, by respecting animal welfare, and by empowering farmers.

Tried and tested innovations

Yann Gael Rio, vice president of milk and farming at Danone: “Regenerative agriculture is a solution to many of the environmental and health challenges we face today. Farming for Generations brings together expertise along the whole agricultural value chain with the collective know-how of farmers. This will ensure any solutions and innovations are tried and tested on the ground, capable of delivering real impact at scale and helping to build the sustainable food systems of tomorrow.”

Solutions from start to finish

Farming for Generations says it will help identify and scale up solutions across the farming system growing animal feed, choosing the best animals for breeding programmes, nurturing and rearing animals, and producing milk. It will explore regenerative agricultural practices that seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect soil and biodiversity while providing the best quality feed for dairy cows. It will support animal health and well-being, ensuring cows have a healthy, stress-free life, and empower farmers with workable solutions to economic, social and environmental challenges.

Over the next three years, the alliance will gather cross-sector insights, refine best practices and develop new approaches, which will be shared in a practical toolbox. Farmers will be involved each step of the way, ensuring that practices are viable and suited to local customs and geographic specificities.

Chris Mccullough Freelance multi-media journalist