A Missouri no-tiller is the farmer behind a new whiskey made with cover cropped cereal rye.
Country Crock partnered with Kansas City distiller J. Rieger & Co. to make a limited-edition batch of rye whiskey from cereal rye being used as a cover crop on local soybean farms.
Country Crock's spreads are made with soybeans from Kansas-area farms. In 2020, Country Crock launched The Cover Crops Project in partnership with the nonprofit No-Till on the Plains. The 3-year program provides soil health education and cost-sharing to plant cover crops for soybean farmers in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Farmers who plant cover crops on soybean fields that haven't previously had covers are reimbursed $10 per acre for the cover crop seed.
The new Cover Crop Whiskey project is an effort to educate farmers and the public on the benefits of planting cereal rye and other cover crops, including improved soil health and potential for additional cash crops. In Country Crock's video promoting the whiskey, no-tiller Josh Payne, who farms near Concordia, Mo., talks about the rye he harvested for the limited-edition whiskey.
"By definition, cover crops are not harvested, but this year, we're going to harvest it and take it to a distillery," Payne says in the video.
Only 500 bottles of the "buttery smooth" small-batch whiskey have been made. It's available online for $40 per bottle.