Cultivating Resilience: McCain Foods Expands Network of Innovation Hub Farms

12 June 2024

The addition of four Innovation Hub farms in three new growing regions supports further research into regenerative agriculture across varying North American landscapes.

Toronto, ON (June 12, 2024) – McCain Foods is embarking on an expansion of its network of Innovation Hub farms across North America.  

This growing season, McCain will partner with four additional farms across three growing regions as part of its North America-wide network of Innovation Hubs where commercial-scale research trials are tested locally in growing regions as an opportunity for learning and transparency. This expansion supports progress towards McCain’s commitment to implement regenerative agriculture practices across 100 per cent of its global potato acreage by the end of 2030.

This year, new Innovation Hub farms will be established on potato farms in Alberta, Wisconsin, and Maine, with the fourth on an onion farm in Idaho. These new farms will join established research hubs in Idaho, Washington, and Manitoba.

Regenerative agriculture is a core part of our mission to grow food in a smart and sustainable way,” says Dan Metheringham, North America Vice President of Agriculture and Sustainability. “We are currently writing what promises to be a defining chapter for sustainable agriculture and we are proud of the work our team and partners are doing from the ground up.”

McCain developed the Innovation Hub concept to be a local, regionally accessible extension of its Farms of the Future project. McCain’s flagship Farm of the Future in New Brunswick, Canada is where it is gaining a better understanding of regenerative agriculture practices and their impact, costs and benefits, and where it is working with farming partners to reimagine how to grow a potato that is better for both the farm and the planet. At Innovation Hubs, these same trials and learnings are applied at a commercial scale to address environmental challenges that are unique to each local region. The farmers at the Innovation Hubs share their knowledge and findings with other local partners at ‘Field Day’ events.

While each Innovation Hub farm is addressing different agriculture issues and challenges — such as soil erosion, water insecurity, nutrient management and pesticide toxicity — collectively, they are showcasing best practices and applications of various regenerative agricultural practices like cover cropping, crop diversity, irrigation innovations, advanced machinery and nature-based solutions.

Through this work, McCain is building strong evidence that sustainability in agriculture can be both economically and environmentally viable, with assured supply, strong yields and improved soil health.

The progress being made is tangible, as the number of farmers growing food for McCain and adopting regenerative agriculture practices is steadily increasing.

“Farmers are conducting commercial-scale trials so we can learn fast – and fail fast – with new practices and new varieties, then share that knowledge with local growers,” says Metheringham. “The early signs are positive: a significant percentage of growers who visit our Innovation Hubs express their intent to implement new practices on their own farms.”

About McCain Foods

McCain Foods Limited is a family-owned business founded in 1957 in Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada. Today, the company is the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products and a global leader in prepared appetizers and snacks. Its products can be found in restaurants and retail stores in more than 160 countries around the world. The company has major production, retail and corporate operations around the world, employs approximately 22,000 people, operates 53 production facilities on six continents, partners with 3,500 farmers and generates annual sales in excess of $14 billion CAD.