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Monsanto Makes Environmental Commitments

Kacey Birchmier Updated: 04/30/2014 @ 5:49pm Agronomy & Conservation Editor for Successful Farming and Agriculture.com. I grew up on a fourth-generation farm in central Iowa. Follow me on twitter - @KaceyBirchmier.

As the global population expands, so will the demand for food and fresh water. The challenge becomes producing more food while using our resources efficiently.

“Agriculture is at the intersection of many major challenges today – whether it’s growing population and food demand, water availability, soil health, or climate change,” said Hugh Grant, chairman and chief executive officer at Monsanto. “Addressing these challenges directly is what all of us at Monsanto are focused on every day – working together with farmers and partners around the world to deliver a safe, affordable, and nutritious food supply that sustains our planet.”

Monsanto is committing to increase irrigation water efficiency, saving 30 to 80 billion gallons by the year 2020, says Grant. To reach the goal, Monsanto will expand implementation of drip irrigation systems, which enable water-use efficiency up to 95%, compared with other systems that range from 50% to 65% efficiency.

Monsanto’s second commitment is to nutrient efficiency. Grant pledged that the company will continue to innovate and advance smarter seeds and precision management tools that enable farmers to use nutrients more efficiently and curb greenhouse gas emissions on 1 million acres in the U.S. by 2020.

One way to use nutrients more efficiently is in the use of cover crops. Monsanto has partnered with the National Corn Growers Association to bring information to farmers on cover crops and are also sponsoring academic research. They are continuing research as farmers want to adopt practices that increase not only their productivity but also sustainability.

Monsanto’s support of cover crop trials through the Agronomy Science Foundation and USDA’s Resilient Economic Agriculture Practices (REAP) initiative reinforces the company’s desire to help farmers understand the potential benefits of management practices that improve soil health, say company representatives.

Sustainability Progress Update
The company released today the Monsanto 2013 Sustainability Progress Update, outlining some key water-related accomplishments made since the company’s last full report in June 2013.
“Sustainability reporting not only enables us to continue to be a more transparent and open company, it also pushes us to work even harder alongside farmers and partners to adapt to challenges and continue to improve agriculture,” said Natalie Rosenbloom, vice president of sustainability and partnerships at Monsanto. “We are dedicated to work with farmers and stakeholders to provide innovations that can help farmers as well as consumers ensure that we get the most out of every seed, every acre, and every harvest in a sustainable way.”
Future sustainability progress reports will include updates on Monsanto’s progress toward its irrigation water-use efficiency commitment and its efforts to maximize nutrient efficiency.
In line with Monsanto’s commitment of conserving natural resources, the company offers the full content of the Monsanto 2013 Sustainability Progress Update online at sustainability.monsanto.com.

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