What do you do when you can’t find enough product in the supply chain? General Mills announced a strategic sourcing deal with Gunsmoke Farms to convert 34,000 acres of conventional farmland to organic by 2020. The farm, located west of Pierre, S.D., will grow certified organic wheat and other organic rotational crops. General Mills will use wheat grown on the farm to make Annie’s pasta products, including its signature Mac and Cheese. Gunsmoke Farms is owned by TPG, a private global investment company.
“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. “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.” In 2016, General Mills announced a similar transition agreement with Organic Valley, the largest organic cooperative in the U.S., to help dairy farms convert to organic dairy production.
As part of this agreement, General Mills partnered with Midwestern Bio Ag to provide on-the-ground mentorship for the farm operators to advance leading regenerative soil management practices such as no till, crop rotation and cover cropping – turning the farm into a regional educational hub. In addition, more than 3,000 acres of pollinator habitat will be planted on the farm in cooperation with the Xerces Society. General Mills and Xerces announced a partnership in 2016 to add more than 100,000 acres of bee and butterfly habitat.
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