For Immediate Release
Morrisville, North Carolina – Aug. 18, 2022. The Walmart Foundation announced it has provided a $2,000,000, three-year grant to the Soil Health Institute’s (SHI) U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF) to scale activities of the project and expand the initiative to Alabama and South Carolina. The USRCF is a farmer-facing, science-based initiative designed to empower farmers and their advisors with the tools, resources, and networks they need to successfully adopt regenerative soil health systems, with the goal of eliminating one million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from the atmosphere by 2026.
“Regenerative soil health systems can provide significant benefits for farmers, food supply chains, our climate, and nature,”
said Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive Vice President at Walmart Inc. and President of the Walmart Foundation. “However, adoption of soil health practices remains low. The USRCF’s scientific approach empowers farmers and aligns with the Foundation’s work on regenerative agriculture. We are excited to support this ambitious project to support farmers with the resources and tools they need to adopt more regenerative systems and accurately measure the outcomes of these practices for their land and livelihoods.”
Through the USRCF, begun in 2021, SHI has initiated work in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi, where it has established farmer-to-farmer education networks with more than 100 cotton farmers, delivered 12 education programs, sampled soils in over 200 locations to develop Soil Health and Soil Carbon Targets, interviewed farmers managing 11,000 acres to assess their economic experiences with regenerative systems, delivered initial economic results to growers managing 187,000 acres, and mentored five student interns from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help prepare them for leadership positions in U.S. agriculture.
“The USRCF is making good progress,” said Dr. Cristine Morgan, SHI’s Chief Scientific Officer. “The drought conditions sweeping across the cotton-belt this year only underscore the importance of soil health systems to farmers’ livelihoods because they can build drought resilience and increase profitability. We feel fortunate to have the Walmart Foundation’s support that will allow us to expand the reach and impact of the USRCF to Alabama and South Carolina.”
The U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund was initiated in 2021 with a founding grant from the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation. The VF Foundation is a Sustaining Supporter, and Levi Strauss & Co. is a Contributing Supporter of the Fund. Participating partners currently include Cotton Incorporated, National Cotton Council, Field to Market, Arkansas Soil Health Alliance, DELTA F.A.R.M., and the University of Georgia.
In 2021, the USRCF was selected as an Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) Innovation Sprint Partner, a joint initiative by the United States and United Arab Emirates to accelerate investments in climate-smart agriculture.
About the Soil Health Institute
The Soil Health Institute is a global non-profit with a mission of safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils through scientific research and advancement. Our vision is a world where farmers and ranchers grow quality food, fiber, and fuel using soil health systems that sustain farms and rural communities, promote a stable climate and clean environment, and improve human health and well-being. Accordingly, the Institute brings together leaders in soil health science and the industry to conduct research and empower farmers and other landowners with the knowledge to successfully adopt regenerative soil health systems that contribute economic and environmental benefits to agriculture and society. The Institute’s scientific team holds doctorates in various soil science and related disciplines, with specialties in carbon cycling, nutrient cycling, water cycling, nutrient management, soil microbiome, farmer/adviser education, ecosystem services, soil-plant relationships, on-farm economics, and others. The team follows a comprehensive strategy for advancing adoption of regenerative soil health systems.
Healthy soils are the foundation for restoring our land. Together, we can create a secure future for all, mitigate the effects of climate change, and help farmers and organizations meet production and environmental goals at scale. Visit www.soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more, and follow us on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By focusing where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social and environmental issues and collaborate with others to spark long lasting systemic change. Walmart has stores in 26 countries, employs more than 2.2 million associates and does business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart.org is helping people live better by supporting programs to accelerate upward job mobility for frontline workers, advance equity, address hunger, build inclusive economic opportunity for people in supply chains, protect and restore nature, reduce waste and emissions, and build strong communities where Walmart operates. To learn more, visit www.walmart.org or connect on Twitter @Walmartorg.