Food production and processing contribute to approximately 25 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions
Meeting the ever-increasing demand for agricultural products must be accomplished on increasingly marginal land. This need is further challenged by direct competition for land and water resources by human settlement and the animals they keep, and with changing weather patterns. The negative impacts associated with climate change are not only in the form of droughts and floods, but also include changing disease vectors affecting crops, livestock and humans, and variances in overall growing conditions (rainfall distribution, temperatures and atmospheric carbon).
Conversely, food systems (production and processing) are a primary driver of the ‘greenhouse effect’ and climate change. The global citizens who will feel the greatest negative effects from climate change and increasing land pressures are low-income households, especially the rural poor.
Never has it been more imperative to make more efficient use of food systems. Although the role of improved technologies is critical, Land O’Lakes knows that to develop sustainable agribusinesses and market systems, the underlying production base cannot be ignored. Natural resources are the base upon which all humans depend and ideally prosper. But, the increasing demand for land and water resources, coupled with their decreasing availability, underscores the need for integrated and sustainable approaches to natural resource management.
Land O’Lakes therefore takes a two-pronged approach to natural resources:
Green Growth: Our agriculture (crop and livestock) development activities efficiently use the natural resource base, promoting nutrient cycling, water conservation, and leveraging the production-enhancing properties of biodiversity.
Climate Resilient Systems: Negative impacts of climate change are already being felt in most of the countries where Land O’Lakes works. While strengthening agricultural production and market systems, we integrate adaptive strategies such as diversified livelihoods, use of information (weather forecasts and climate models) and technology (crop and livestock genetics, ICT, alternative energy) and restoration of ecosystem function (soil fertility and water retention, temperature control) through the use of climate-smart agricultural practices.
Because of the increasing pressures our local partners are experiencing, Land O’Lakes is increasing its capacity and leadership in addressing environmental-related issues. We accomplish this by monitoring environmental risks and opportunities where we work, assessing the positive and negative impacts from our current projects and practices, identifying and developing innovative approaches and technologies, and through new partnerships with conservation, technology and research organizations.