Our priorities in action
In the US, water is a top priority for MillerCoors because of the impact is has on production and the supply of raw materials.
In 2010, we began working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to safeguard the watershed and improve habitats in the barley-growing Silver Creek Valley in Idaho. We developed a watershed conservation plan which included projects such as fencing and planting along streams to prevent damage and contamination by livestock and agriculture and coordinating monitoring programmes with landowners. We also worked with farmers to help them improve their water efficiency through retrofitting irrigation pivots. This led to a 20% reduction in overall usage.
Following this successful pilot, this year we continued to work with TNC as well as the University of Idaho, agronomists and farmers to develop a model barley farm which aims to showcase the best conservation practices, both in terms of providing more habitat for wildlife and improving the quality and quantity of water.
So far, I've been really pleased how successful the model barley farm has been. We've had more than 150 people come and tour the farm and new innovations have increased yields and saved almost 4.7 million hectolitres of water, about 9% of the farm's annual water use. It's also expected to reduce energy use by an estimated 10-20%.
In the future, I hope that we will see more landowners and farmers joining the programme, helping us to protect both our supply of quality barley and the environment. I'm also excited as we are planning to establish a water conservation fund. This will be a source of money which could be used to match the investment of farmers interested in retrofitting irrigation systems to make them more efficient.
Kim Marotta – Director: Sustainability, MillerCoors
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