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Our Approach to Climate Smart Agriculture
Erratic weather, pests, natural disasters, livestock diseases, poor soil health – climate change challenges threaten food security and agricultural livelihoods around the world. Smallholder farmers and agricultural market actors in emerging markets are often the most at risk. These people and businesses who nourish our world can and must be enabled to be at the forefront of climate solutions.

Our Approach

Climate change requires customized solutions for each geography and value chain. That’s why we focus project design and implementation on locally owned solutions that are rooted in agronomic know-how, data, innovation, and public and private sector partnerships. Whether our goal is to help farmers build resilience to shocks and stresses or enable more efficient agricultural systems, we engage host-country governments, the private sector, research institutions, entrepreneurs and smallholders to bring forward products, services and policies that fuel sustainable solutions in dairy, livestock and crops industries. This includes building the capacity of smallholders to understand climate and weather-related risks that ultimately lead to more resilient, inclusive, and competitive market systems.

Our farmer-to-fork approach leverages industry leading expertise of our affiliate Land O’Lakes, Inc., a 100 year-old farmer-owned cooperative. Land O’Lakes, Inc. through Truterra and the Winfield United global portfolio bring together the best in agricultural technology and on-farm business management to drive sustainability across the food system, utilize precision agriculture to improve conservation practices, to safeguard the planet and support farmer livelihoods.

Our areas of focus:

  • Resilience to Climactic Shocks and Stressors: Climate variability acutely impacts the most vulnerable. We prioritize building the capacity of smallholders to increase their understanding of how climate change affects their farming system and then work together to develop locally appropriate technologies and practices that increase resilience.

  • Harnessing Data to Understand Climate Risk and Promote Climate Mitigation: We utilize a variety of climate change assessment tools from quantitative analysis, participatory research, and project monitoring data to assess both short-term climate variability as well as longer-term climate impacts. By understanding the drivers of climate risk and climate mitigation, we turn data into action.
  • Industry Leading Insights: We leverage industry leading insights through our affiliation with Land O’Lakes Inc. to tailor big data capabilities, environmental stewardship, and an integrated systems approach to farming that focuses on maximizing agricultural efficiency and sustainability every step of the way.
  • Inclusive Approaches: We design and apply climate smart agriculture strategies that address the distinct realities of women and vulnerable populations so that their particular needs and priorities are recognized and adequately addressed. In doing so, we support these groups to have equitable access to the benefits of climate smart agricultural practices.
  • Policy and Enabling Environment: We collaborate closely with host-country governments, local research institutions, and the private sector to align our work with national level climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, promote climate related knowledge sharing and coordination to support decision making, and help stimulate policy dialogue to identify priority areas for change.

Case Examples:

Dairy Nourishes Africa (DNA). Through DNA, we are capitalizing on public-private partnerships through the Global Dairy Platform and collaborating with the largest dairy companies in the world to utilize the dairy sustainability framework throughout East Africa. We identify areas of high impact, and promote climate mitigation practices to support net zero dairy industry initiatives.

USAID Management of Fall Armyworm in Maize in Democratic Republic of Congo. We support the resilience of smallholder maize growers by partnering with leading international and local research institutions in DRC and our private sector affiliate Villa Crop Protection to promote environmentally suitable and locally appropriate integrated pest management solutions to mitigate Fall Armyworm infestation.

Feed the Future Mozambique Resilient Agricultural Markets Activity (RAMA-BC). Deeply rooted in the communities in which we serve in Manica and Sofala provinces in Mozambique, RAMA-BC has been at the forefront of promoting climate smart and regenerative agricultural practices to mitigate against persistent climactic shocks and stressors. We partner with private sector input suppliers and local research institutions to increase awareness and adoption of new seed varieties, promote resilient farming practices, and test the efficacy of our approaches season after season.

By John O'Connell 04/19/2021