Water is one of the most important natural resources upon which agriculture depends. Farmers use water and nutrients judiciously. Even so, some runoff happens. Environmental, government, university and business representatives are collaborating with farmers for results. Here, Diane Herndon, senior manager of sustainability at Nestlé Purina, discusses the company’s efforts to partner toward shared goals on water conservation and quality.
Q: Can you give an example of how Purina has become involved in improving water quality?
A: Nestlé Purina is supporting work across the United States where our ingredients are grown.In Indiana, we work with The Nature Conservancy, farmers and others on the Wabash River to create wetlands and woodlands that can remove up to 40 percent of the soil and nitrogen before the water flows downstream.
Q: Why do you engage this way?
A: We source healthy ingredients for our pet food recipes from America’s farms.The programs to which we contribute help to ensure that farmland stays fertile and the environment stays healthy so that we have abundant ingredients available well into the future.
Q: Out West, a lack of water is often the issue, correct?
A: Nestlé Purina and Cargill are working with The Nature Conservancy and farmers in Nebraska to collect water data through sensors and download it to farmers’ smartphones. From there, they can control their irrigation pivots through an app, saving time, water and money. The project is expected to save 2.4 billion gallons of water from the Ogallala Aquifer over the project’s three-year course.