General Mills Honors United Suppliers For Nitrogen Optimization Proposal
General Mills has announced the lead technologies selected in a global innovation challenge to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) through nitrogen fertilizer optimization. General Mills sought commercially available, proven, ready-to-use technologies that minimize the loss of nitrogen to the environment, increase agricultural production and nitrogen use efficiency in the field, and enhance sustainable agriculture.
The two winners selected are Agronomic Technology Corp. and United Suppliers.
Agronomic Technology Corp., based in New York City, submitted a solution called ADAPT-N, a software tool that combines soil and crop models to predict the influence of weather on soil nitrogen balance. The goal of the tool is to help farmers schedule fertilizer applications to meet plant needs without waste.
United Suppliers, based in Ames, IA, proposed SUSTAIN, a consulting network that provides customized products and services for farmers using a needs-based system approach. SUSTAIN provides solutions specific to the region and the crop needs for the farmer through three main pillars: 1) Nutrient Management, 2) Conservation, and 3) Green Fertilizer.
Using these tools, farmers will be able to use the right type and amount of fertilizer to maximize profits while improving soil and ecosystem health.
“To achieve sustainable agriculture, we have to connect solutions-based technologies with producers,” said Jerry Hatfield, laboratory director for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). “The process undertaken by General Mills and Walmart to identify potential technologies that promote a more sustainable system is refreshing and shows the ongoing commitment to producers by industry leaders.”
The innovation challenge was part of General Mills’ long-term sustainability commitment and ongoing initiatives to reduce environmental impacts from farming, and increase collaborations with farmers and the supply chain.
In April, General Mills worked with the Walmart Foundation to fund field implementation of the technologies to further demonstrate the value and increase the accessibility to farmers.
“This challenge was an optimal example of how solutions providers and food producers can work together to benefit farmers and ultimately, the environment,” said Mike Helser, Ph.D. and leader of the General Mills Worldwide Innovation Network program. “We are gratified at the results this challenge delivered and we’ll continue to look for opportunities to use our capabilities to promote best practices in sustainable agriculture.”
Agronomic Technology Corp. and United Suppliers will present their technologies directly to farmers at grower workshops hosted by General Mills in early 2015.