Justin Krick no-tills 150 acres out of 1,200 total in Michigan’s “thumb” region. He’s also an agronomist for Star of the West Milling Co.
Like Chad Rubbelke in North Dakota, Krick is using Syngenta’s AgriEdge Excelsior software to log inputs and farming practices to be aggregated anonymously with other farmers in the region, state and nationally.
He’s been experimenting with interseeding different cover crop mixes into standing soybeans, corn and sugarbeet fields. “With any of our soil that’s light-textured and sandy we try to keep it covered by spreading wheat, oats or a rye cover crop,” he says.
“When it comes to food-grade commodities, we are very aware of our inputs. We’re very stringent on documenting applications and seed varieties, and we use application methods that adhere to the standards that companies like Kellogg wants us to follow (see Kellogg profile).”
While Krick says there’s still too much of a disconnect between farmers and U.S. consumers today, “programs like Kellogg’s are important to help consumers see what our farming practices are, who we are and how we provide high-quality ingredients from farm to table,” he says.
Kellogg Co. is actively working with its suppliers and farmers to responsibly source main ingredient categories such as corn, wheat, rice, potatoes and sugar beets. They also work to directly fund partners like The Nature Conservancy and Syngenta to incentivize the adoption of new technologies.
To date, their programs are assessing over 200,000 acres of cropland in the U.S. and Canada, says Amy Senter, senior director of responsible sourcing. “These programs are voluntary and farmer-led.
“People care about where their food comes from, the people who grow and make it and that there’s enough for everyone,” Senter says. “We encourage and incentivize adoption of these best practices by providing resources to farmers and including sustainability into supplier business planning.”