Organic food company Cascadian Farm and parent company General Mills have announced a five-year, $125,000 contribution to Grain Millers, one of the world’s largest conventional and organic oat millers, to support soil health research in the Upper Midwest. The program’s goal is to uncover and share best practices with local oat farmers to accelerate the development of soil health in the region.
The pilot program will identify both farmers who have successfully built soil and those who are motivated to do so in the region. The researchers will build upon the experiences of those who have already built soil; they intend to demonstrate the impact of regenerative practices, including cover crops, no-till agriculture, and crop rotation, on soil health.
“Together with Grain Millers, we plan to pilot a practical approach to implementing our regenerative agriculture framework, the impact of implementing the framework and how to reasonably scale it,” Jerry Lynch, Chief Sustainability Officer at General Mills, said in a press release. “Our goal is to gain a better understanding of the economic and environmental impacts of healthy soil and identify hurdles that a proactive plan can address for farmers.”
“We hope this project allows us to generate data to show that implementing regenerative agriculture practices results in improved outcomes — including economic resiliency and long-term benefits for farmers,” said Carla Vernón, president of the operating unit at Annie’s, also owned by parent company General Mills.
This is not the first time that General Mills’ commitment to regenerative and organic agriculture has been in the news of late. Not only did Annie’s release limited-edition mac and cheese and Bunny Grahams made with regenerative organic ingredients earlier this month, but General Mills also announced its commitment to help transition 53 square miles of South Dakota farmland to certified organic within the next two years. The planned farm will be among the largest organic row-crop farms in the country and should help meet a growing demand for organic.
“Investing in such a big acreage transition is a first of its kind for General Mills and is another step in growing our organic supply chain,” said John Church, chief supply chain officer at General Mills in a press release. “We continue to seek ways to partner with land owners to make organic ingredients more accessible for existing and innovative new foods that our consumers have grown to expect.”
Cascadian Farm joined General Mills in 2000, becoming the company’s first organic brand. As of this year, General Mills has contributed more than $3 million to partners working towards soil health improvement and research in the United States.
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