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The movement underway with large agribusinesses wanting to connect their sustainability programs more closely with their suppliers could mean some new advantages and opportunities for market-savvy no-tillers.
Due to a combination of factors — such as increasing consumer demand to know where foods come from, shifting demographics and water quality issues stemming from excessive erosion and over-fertilization — the amount of time and effort companies are investing in sustainability programs is substantial.
Last March, for example, General Mills made headlines by announcing a strategic sourcing agreement with the 34,000-acre Gunsmoke Farms near Pierre, S.D. By 2020, it will convert the farmland to organic production to supply wheat for the company’s popular Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese line.
One grain producer in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), Shepherd’s Grain, has been connecting no-tillers with local food companies since 2003. Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword for the company and its member farmers.
Click here to read more about Kellogg’s sustainability programs and how a no-tiller is using them.
Concerned about the amount of subsidization farmers received in the region for wheat production, Shepherd’s Grain co-founder Karl Kupers started searching for a more sustainable business model for his wheat farm in 1983. Over the years he created a company that rewards no-tillers through the marketplace, not the government.
Starting with five varieties of milled dark northern spring wheat, Kupers and his partner, Fred Fleming, took their flour to a baker, and from there the company was on its way to its current 46-member…