Wal-Mart pushes plan to reduce fertilizer

Author: Amy Volk | Posted: 3/19/2014

Retail giant Wal-Mart could hold a key to reducing water pollution while making agriculture production more efficient in a program that conservationists and agricultural groups are touting as a "win-win."

Wal-Mart, which embarked in 2009 to develop sustainability measurements of products it sells, said in the fall it would require suppliers of crops, including corn, wheat and soy, to begin developing fertilizer-optimization plans. Participants include food supplier Cargill and producer Kellogg's.

Wal-Mart said it hopes to reduce fertilizer — one of the biggest sources of pollution in lakes and rivers — on 14 million acres of farmland by 2020. It has been unveiling its new initiative at farm association meetings this winter.

Over-fertilization is blamed for water-quality problems across the country. Last month, the International Joint Commission — a U.S. and Canadian group that oversees shared water bodies — issued a report calling for reductions in phosphorous used in fertilizers in states around Lake Erie. The report noted that phosphorous was contributing to massive algae blooms and dead zones in Lake Erie, threatening fisheries, drinking water and recreation.

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Source: USA Today