Cargill and UNFI Support Expansion of NMSDC Acres Program to Cultivate Equity in Black Agriculture
The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is expanding a program focused on increasing economic opportunity for Black farmers and ranchers. Acres: Cultivating Equity in Black Agriculture trains and certifies Black farmers and ranchers as diverse suppliers. The goal is to help increase incomes as producers access new markets including grocery stores, restaurants, and other retail outlets. Founding partner Cargill and UNFI have contributed more than $500,000, with a goal of tripling the number of trained ranchers and farmers to help build greater equity in the United States food system.
“We are incredibly excited for the continued interest in NMSDC Acres. Cargill and UNFI’s leadership in supporting this effort to create greater equity for the Black community will help us to grow the program and make meaningful progress towards a more inclusive agricultural system,” said NMSDC Vice President of Strategic Alliances, Programs, and Events Lisa Morris.
According to data from McKinsey & Company, just 1.4% of farmers identify as Black or mixed race compared with about 14% a century ago. Furthermore, they represent less than 0.5% of total U.S. farm sales. And Black agricultural practitioners operate at 70% of US peer-level farm revenue. Cargill and NMSDC designed the recently renamed Acres program to address this issue and advance agricultural supply chain access for Black individuals. Benefits for participants include strategic business support and skills development including NMSDC-certification assistance and access to funding opportunities.
“UNFI is proud to support NMSDC Acres as a founding circle member in the effort to create a more inclusive agricultural system in the United States,” said Guillaume Bagal, VP Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Wellbeing at UNFI.
“We are working with farmers, customers and organizations like NMSDC to close equity gaps that have existed for too long in the fabric of our food system,” said Cargill’s Supplier Diversity Lead Natalie McGrady. “Our partnership with NMSDC is one example of our commitment to work with diverse suppliers. We launched the Black Farmer Equity Initiative to help increase participation, productivity, and profitability by putting farmers, ranchers, and growers at the center of the solution.
To learn more about Acres, visit https://nmsdc.org/black-farmers-equity-initiative/. If other organizations are interested in investing in this initiative, they can email Brandi Wiggins at Brandi.Wiggins@nmsdc.org.
Cargill helps the world’s food system work for you. We connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients and families with daily essentials—from the foods they eat to the floors they walk on. Our 155,000 team members around the world innovate with purpose, empowering our partners and communities as we work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible, sustainability way.
From the feed that reduces methane emissions to waste-based renewable fuels, the possibilities are boundless. But our values remain the same. We put people first. We reach higher. We do the right thing. It’s how we’ve met the needs of the people we call neighbors and the planet we call home for 157 years—and how we’ll do so for generations to come. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.
UNFI is North America’s premier grocery wholesaler delivering the widest variety of fresh, branded, and owned brand products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, ecommerce providers, and food service customers. UNFI also provides a broad range of value-added services and segmented marketing expertise, including proprietary technology, data, market insights, and shelf management to help customers and suppliers build their businesses and brands. As the largest full-service grocery partner in North America, UNFI is committed to building a food system that is better for all and is uniquely positioned to deliver great food, more choices, and fresh thinking to customers. To learn more about how UNFI is Fueling the Future of Food, visit www.unfi.com.