Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation (Darden), Cargill and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) awarded $1.5 million in grants to restore, improve and conserve sagebrush, mesic wet meadow and big game migratory corridor habitats the Intermountain West. The grants will generate $2.5 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $4 million. To support carbon sequestration on over 96,000 rangeland acres.
Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation (Darden) and Cargill launch a partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the largest private conservation grant provider in the U.S., to restore natural rangelands in the Intermountain West. The partnership will support cattle ranchers committed to addressing climate change and support the implementation of regenerative grazing and agriculture practices in their operations.
Darden and Cargill’s funding will support NFWF’s Rocky Mountain Rangelands program, which covers Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Through a combination of NFWF-leveraged funds and grantee-acquired 1:1 match contributions, this multi-year initiative will create a total on-the-ground impact of up to $4 million.
To kick off this work, NFWF has awarded five grants supported by Darden and Cargill funding, impacting over 96,000 acres of rangelands, to four conservation organizations:
• Pheasants Forever, Inc.
• Grand Teton National Park Foundation
• National Audubon Society, Inc.
• The Mule Deer Foundation.
Projects implemented by these organizations will focus on removing invasive species and restoring healthy rangelands through managed grazing for increased agricultural production, the sequestration of carbon emissions, and improved wildlife habitat for species including sage grouse, mule deer and pronghorn.
“We are excited to begin this partnership with Darden and Cargill, as together we can bring much-needed financial support to the ranching communities of the Intermountain West, a region with rangelands that are essential to cattle and wildlife alike,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “It is partnerships like these that are so vital to improving and sustaining our natural resources, while at the same time creating a more regenerative ecosystem for ranchers and our nation.”
With today’s commitments from Darden and Cargill, the grants awarded through the NFWF Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program have the potential to sequester up to 107,000 metrics tons of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2030, or the equivalent of removing over 23,000 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
Cross-industry collaboration creates an opportunity for beef production to conserve and positively impact land and resources. In partnership with NFWF, Darden and Cargill are committed to making beef production more sustainable. Similar sustainable agriculture programs are working across North America to optimize beef production, customer health, land regeneration and profits for agricultural producers.
“At Cargill, we want to continue using our unique position in the agricultural supply chain to connect ranchers and NGOs with our customers who are committed to improving the sustainability of beef production across North America,” said Jeffrey Fitzpatrick, Cargill BeefUp Sustainability Program Lead. “As part of Cargill’s BeefUp Sustainability initiative, the company’s largest program addressing climate change, this partnership will provide additional financial assistance to those organizations and ranchers who are already leading stewardship practices that are positively impacting the environment and cattle production.” For additional information about the Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program and partnership grantees, please see this link.