Hand grazing wheat field - ADM

Source: ADM

American agribusiness ADM has expanded its regenerative agriculture programme to the UK and Poland, which aims to create a more sustainable food system.

The company said the climate-smart initiative provides financial and technical support to farmers who are taking positive steps to reduce their carbon footprint, improve water quality, and promote soil health and biodiversity.

ADM initially launched the programme in North America in 2022, where it successfully enrolled more than one million acres of farming land in implementing regenerative agriculture practice – it then doubled this coverage last year.

As a key part of its overall target of four million acres globally by 2025, ADM has now begun rolling out its programme at farms across Europe. For example, it will work with key partners in the UK and Poland to utilise remote data collection and easy-to-understand reporting systems so that participating growers can gain crucial insights into the carbon footprints and Sustainability performance of their crops, as well as monitoring soil health and biodiversity.

Alongside reporting on key performance indicators such as carbon emissions, nitrogen use efficiency, and yield, the programme also empowers growers to benchmark these metrics and offer guidance to help them continue to reduce their on-farm emissions.

“With a value chain that stretches from hundreds of thousands of producers to downstream customers, ADM is well placed to scale regenerative agriculture practices around the globe,” said Candy Siekmann, director of Climate Smart Ag Origination at ADM.

“Farmers are at the center of our business. They’re the leaders of this effort, and our success will be built on their advancement of regenerative agriculture practices that will benefit their businesses and their legacies for their families,” he added.

A combine harvester deposits wheat in a tractor pulled truck - ADM

Source: ADM

The programme sees growers rewarded for implementing regenerative agricultural practices such as conservation tillage, cover crops, and companion cropping across their milling wheat and oilseed rape. These actions will be verified using the latest satellite technology, with enrolled producers receiving incentive payments for each hectare farmed.

Designed to work alongside new and evolving farm support programmes, ADM’s initiative will help ensure growers get the support they need to undertake practices that maintain the resilience of the company’s UK supply chain. This includes one-to-one technical advice provided through a partnership with UK-based regenerative agriculture advisory company, Ceres Rural, featuring site assessments and regular training sessions.

ADM’s ambition is to scale up the programme using a ‘scorecard’ concept to widen the range of commodities it is sourcing from farm suppliers while tracking and reporting on their validated regenerative practices.

A growing population

Anna Bykowska, commercial manager at ADM Direct Polska, said they were proud of their farmer-centric approach in Poland and the relationships they have built with individual farmers over the years. “Together we are supporting each other to produce crops that will provide food to a growing global population, while maintaining the health of the soil for generations to come,” she commented, adding that they are looking to expand the program to other crops such as corn or sunflower, which she noted were both playing an increasing role in the Polish agricultural industry.

Founded in Minneapolis in 1902, ADM has grown to become one of the world’s largest grain traders and processors of food commodities with a current turnover of $97.2bn. It recently agreed to the purchase of UK-based flavour and ingredients firm FDL as the latest expansion of its portfolio of businesses specialising in human and animal nutrition.

As highlighted in our Top Bakery Trends 2024 report, sustainability is no longer merely a ‘nice to have’ in the baking industry with retailers and consumers demanding more from their bakery suppliers. Regenerative farming in particular is gaining widespread recognition for its benefits to reducing emissions in the bakery supply chain, with UK flour supplier Wildfarmed winning Sustainability Initiative of the Year at the Baking Industry Awards 2023