Elanco, DU improve Kansas grasslands

Improving sustainability on working grasslands like this in Kansas is crucial for water quality and waterfowl.

© Elanco

Improving sustainability on working grasslands like this in Kansas is crucial for water quality and waterfowl.

As part of a multi-year initiative to restore working grasslands in western Kansas, Elanco Animal Health and Ducks Unlimited are pleased to announce results from the year-one effort. In 2021 alone, the joint initiative helped to:

  • Restore 1,525 acres of working grasslands – representing a nearly 53% increase over the originally anticipated acreage goal in year-one (1,525/actual vs. 1,000/goal)
  • Improve carbon sequestration with 472.2 mtCO2e/year of increased sequestration and reduced emissions
  • Support water quality of impacted playas through the removal of more than 36,000 kg of nitrogen and nearly 15,000 kg of phosphorous in runoff
  • Support the sustainability efforts of 20 Kansas landowners representing acreage in 30 different fields

“Improved environmental sustainability is about maintenance of good ecological outcomes and continual progress,” said Sara Place, Ph.D., Chief Sustainability Officer, Elanco Animal Health. “Elanco is committed to supporting conservation efforts, such as this results-oriented program with Ducks Unlimited, while at the same time providing the market with first-of-its kind innovations – like Experior™ (lubabegron Type A medicated article) – to help further support the environmental sustainability efforts of cattle producers."

Elanco and Ducks Unlimited Represent Leave it Better™ in Action
Earlier this year, Elanco announced the Leave it Better™ initiative as the organization’s overarching effort to provide resources, education, and support for the beef industry’s long-time sustainability endeavors. The Elanco and Ducks Unlimited partnership, which is part of the Leave it Better™ initiative, includes a commitment to donate $150,000 through 2023 for continuation of grassland restoration efforts on working lands in Kansas.

“Working with Ducks Unlimited and Elanco is essential because landowners can’t make that type of financial commitment upfront to get these programs started. Farmers at their heart are stewards of the land, but it has to be economically viable,” said Logan Campbell, Kansas landowner/participant in the Elanco and Ducks Unlimited program.

The Elanco investment in Ducks Unlimited is designated for the purchase of seed to establish native grassland buffers around restored playas in the region. Playas, which are seasonal wetlands, are a primary source of groundwater recharge and provide important, year-round habitat for birds and other wildlife. Additionally, in Kansas, playas contribute up to 95% of the water flowing to the Ogallala aquifer, the largest aquifer in the United States and the single most important source of water in the High Plains region. In fact, recharge rates in playa basins are 10 to 1,000 times higher than surrounding upland areas.Grassland buffers around playa’s remove 60-80% of nitrogen and phosphorus in runoff, providing a cleaner water source for both people and animals.

“Our program partnership with Elanco is a great example of a commitment to improvement over time,” said Billy Gascoigne, Ducks Unlimited. “We are pleased with the results of our first year working together, and we look forward to teaming up for more positive outcomes in the future.” 

Elanco Couples Conservation with Innovation
“The roots of healthy, thriving grasslands are an important way to help retain nitrogen to improve soil quality,” said Place. “While Elanco is investing in the Ducks Unlimited conservation efforts that restore grasslands and playas – and ultimately help to improve nutrient utilization in the land – products like Experior help to improve nutrient utilization in animals, specifically beef cattle.”

Elanco’s newest innovation, Experior, is approved for the reduction of ammonia gas emissions per pound of live weight and hot carcass weight in beef steers and heifers fed in confinement for slaughter during the last 14 to 91 days on feed. It is the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved product labeled to reduce ammonia gas emissions from an animal or its waste.

For more information about Experior and Elanco’s Sustainability Efforts, please visit www.experiorbeef.com or www.elancoleaveitbetter.com.