Where Walmart and the Farm Gate Meet

Jun 22, 2012


The global giant attempts to help farmers reduce their carbon footprint

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

For the first time Walmart representatives are attempting to bridge the gap in the food supply chain from producer to the wholesaler in an effort to boost their image while encouraging farmers to adopt more progressive practices. The global giant is sending their senior representatives out into the fields to engage in dialogue with farmers, encouraging them to reduce their carbon footprint with fertilizer inputs.

Robert Kaplan, who is the Sustainability Manager at their headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas says "I hadn't seen a wheat field before and I wanted to find out how we go from a green crop in the fields to flour on our shelves."

But Walmart is currently only focusing their efforts on wheat production with the aim to get its value branded flour and wheat products from the field to the shelf in a more environmentally friendly fashion. Interestingly enough, Walmart might spur innovative changes to the production process and how U.S. farmers grow their wheat. Their goal is to help farmers improve their yields by keeping up with the latest technology trends. But targeting wheat production may be a challenge, since wheat is already has less fertilizer inputs compared to corn and grain.

"Wheat is relatively low input. There are not a lot of corners that can be cut," says Jason Kelley, a wheat and corn extension agronomist at the University of Arkansas.

But is it Walmart’s place to be telling farmers how to grow their wheat? After all, farmers are the experts in their field.