The companies will pilot SeaGraze as an insetting intervention for small organic family farms
— Dr. Bradley Heins, University of Minnesota
KAILUA KONA, HAWAII, UNITED STATES, September 12, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — Symbrosia, a Hawaiʻi-based cleantech startup that uses seaweed to drastically reduce livestock methane emissions, is excited to announce its pilot with the leading organic farmer-owned cooperative, Organic Valley. This pilot will determine how Symbrosia’s organic seaweed feed additive, SeaGraze, will benefit Organic Valley farmers and fit into the cooperative’s carbon insetting program.
In September 2022, Organic Valley received a $25 million award through the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program to ramp up the Organic Valley Insetting Program (OVCIP). The OVCIP will provide technical and financial resources to accelerate the adoption of 1,200 new carbon reduction and removal projects on 500 Organic Valley member farms across rural America over the next five years. Through this program, Organic Valley will become the first cooperative to offer direct farmer payments for carbon reduction and removal, as well as cost-share for the design and implementation of climate-smart agriculture practices.
Research and commercial trials have shown that adding a small amount of the red seaweed, Asparagopsis taxiformis, to livestock feed can reduce enteric methane emissions by over 50% in dairy cattle and over 80% in beef cattle. This seaweed is native to Hawaiʻi, where the Symbrosia team has been cultivating select strains that are significantly more productive, potent, and resilient than wild populations. This allows the company to not only farm the seaweed but farm it efficiently and sustainably. Earlier this month, Symbrosia’s product SeaGraze received USDA organic certification.
Following its USDA award, Organic Valley connected with Symbrosia, citing the drastic enteric methane reduction caused by SeaGraze, which aligns with the cooperative’s values and has the potential to majorly reduce on-farm carbon emissions in its supply chain. One of the key climate-smart practices that the OVCIP will support is the adoption of methane-reducing feed supplements like SeaGraze.
“Aligning our USDA Organic feed, SeaGraze, with Organic Valley’s emission reduction targets was divine timing,” said Alexia Akbay, Symbrosia’s founder and CEO, “and exemplifies our shared commitment to moving early on regenerative practices, biodiversity, and the well-being of our planet. By combining our expertise and resources, we are confident that we can make a significant positive impact on both human and planetary health”
Organic Valley, with support from its Farmers Advocating for Organic (FAFO) program, has designed a SeaGraze pilot to determine the benefit the additive will have on Organic Valley’s 1,600 member farms. The six-month pilot began in early July and is taking place with an organic dairy research herd at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center under the supervision of Dr. Bradley Heins. Dr. Heins has two decades of experience in research on organic dairy production and precision technology for organic dairies.
“I am excited about what SeaGraze means for future organic dairy farms and its effects on reducing enteric methane production of dairy cattle,” Dr. Heins said. “It will help us make a more sustainable organic industry.”
“Organic Valley farmers have always searched for innovative ways to care for their animals and the earth. We see the potential for SeaGraze by Symbrosia to help reduce the carbon footprint of dairy while seamlessly integrating into our award-winning carbon insetting program,” said Nicole Rakobitsch, Director of Sustainability at Organic Valley. “Natural options that substantially reduce enteric methane emissions and pay farmers to do so are rare, but we are building those platforms with the help of innovators like Symbrosia.”
Pending the outcome of the pilot, Organic Valley will look to scale the use of SeaGraze within its carbon insetting program in the coming years as Organic Valley takes strides toward a lower and lower carbon footprint.
Organic Valley and Symbrosia will also come together for Climate Week 2023 in NYC later this month. The two companies will serve milkshakes at the Climate Nest Campus – VIP Cocktail Reception on Wednesday, September 20th, from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM, hosted at the Javitz Center Rooftop Garden.
Symbrosia is a Hawai’i-based cleantech startup that cultivates fast-growing seaweed strains and develops them into high-value products. Symbrosia has developed SeaGraze, a natural seaweed feed additive that drastically reduces livestock methane emissions. Called “the seaweed that could save the planet” by The Verge, Forbes, and Inc. Magazine, SeaGraze is setting a new standard for sustainability in the U.S. beef, dairy, and apparel industries. In June 2022, Symbrosia raised a $7 million funding round led by Danone Manifesto Ventures. Symbrosia is scaling SeaGraze production rapidly and partnering with researchers, ranchers, distributors, and brands to build supply chains that reward producers for producing low-methane animal products. Visit symbrosia.co to learn more.
About Organic Valley
Organic Valley is the leading organic farmer-owned cooperative on a mission to save, serve and safeguard small organic family farms. The brand’s products are ethically sourced, which we define as food raised on organic farms where families manage the daily care for the animals and the earth while living up to the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program as well as our cooperative’s high standards and practices designed to promote the principles of organic agriculture, including respect for the dignity and interdependence of human, animal, plant, soil and global life. Founded in 1988, today the cooperative is owned by over 1,600 organic family farms. Visit ov.coop for more information. Organic Valley is also @OrganicValley on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter and @therealorganicvalley on TikTok.