The retail giant charitable arm – Walmart Foundation, has granted a $2 million funds for 3-years to the Soil Health Institute’s (SHI) US Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF) to aid scale the program and increase its services to Alabama and South Carolina.
Initiated in last year, the USRCF is a science-based initiative aimed to arm farmers and their advisors with the tools, resources and networks that are essential to effectively embrace regenerative soil health systems. While the SHI is an international non-profit initiative that protects and improves the strength and efficiency of soils through scientific research.
Regenerative cotton agriculture reinstates and reconstructs cotton’s normal ecosystems that expand the cotton crops and the soil’s total health. Advancing its aim to abolish one million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from the air by 2026.
Furthermore, The Walmart Foundation donation will benefit scale activities of the project and increase it to Alabama and South Carolina from its current confines in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi.
Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive VP at Walmart Inc. and president of the Walmart Foundation said, “Regenerative soil health systems can provide significant benefits for farmers, food supply chains, our climate, and nature.”
“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,” McLaughlin added.
USRCF and SHI 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 financial 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 (HBCUs) to train 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 USRCF was chosen as an Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) Innovation Sprint Partner in 2021. Which is a joint initiative by the USA and UAE to increase investments in climate-smart cultivation.