Charles Sturt University’s Cool Soil Initiative has secured close to $2.1 million to spearhead research in sustainable agriculture and expand the Initiative into new regions and commodities.

PepsiCo and AgMission, a global initiative co-founded by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), have partnered to unlock agriculture’s potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, awarding three grants to researchers in Australia, Mexico and Canada.

The total combined investment of US$6.7 million will support evidence-based research on the effectiveness of climate-smart agriculture practices that incorporate regenerative agriculture principles.

A grant of US$748,394 was awarded to Charles Sturt by AgMission, matched by PepsiCo and supplemented by the University. The total investment of US$3,783,598 is set to significantly benefit Australia’s grain industry through enacting climate-smart agricultural practices.

The research initiative builds upon the foundation laid by the Cool Soil Initiative since its inception in 2018, collaborating with farmers to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve soil health through a scientifically credible and globally recognised framework.

AgriPark executive director, Nick Pagett said the research was indicative of Charles Sturt’s commitment to driving innovation in agriculture.

“It’s not just about driving innovation, but also demonstrates our value in working with partners to find solutions to the challenges posed by climate change,” he said.

“It’s a great honour to be one of only three recipients of this global grant and to have the opportunity to provide the Australian cropping sector with new insights into climate smart practices.

“It’s great to see companies like PepsiCo, who is one of the six partners of the Cool Soil Initiative, looking for opportunities like AgMission to support climate smart agriculture in Australia and around the world.”

PepsiCo ANZ sustainability manager, Brent Gapes said the partnership and grant would deliver meaningful results for farming on a global scale.

“As one of Australia’s largest snack manufacturers we are committed to ensuring the development and implementation of Australia’s sustainable farming practices,” he said.

“Our partnership with AgMission is helping us to further charter a new course to drive positive action for the planet and people, building a circular and inclusive value chain. We’ve seen the benefit of the Cool Soil Initiative first-hand in the past twelve months and we’re delighted to be able to further support the growth transformative work of Charles Sturt University within this space.”