FREDERICKSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, US — Bell & Evans, a family-owned poultry producer, finalized a long-term sourcing agreement with Cargill to exclusively secure its organic grain and increase domestic organic grain supply.
Under the agreement, Cargill will incentivize US farmers to transition acreage from conventional to organic management through subsidized organic crop consulting services provided by organic pioneer Rodale Institute.
Over the next five years, the Bell & Evans Organic Grain Initiative will work to transition 50,000 acres of US corn and soybeans to certified organic production. The Rodale Institute brings more than seven decades of scientific organic agriculture research to the partnership, offering added value and security to farmers that participate.
The Bell & Evans US Organic Grain Initiative eliminates organic-transition challenges for US corn and soybean producers by providing education and a guaranteed market after the three-year transition period.
Contracted growers will receive customized support to aid them through the transition, including on-farm consultation, organic system planning, certification assistance, weed management guidance, crop rotation planning, recordkeeping guidance and inspection preparation. Cargill will offer market access for transition crops, and farmers are guaranteed a dedicated market for their certified organic grains through Bell & Evans.
“We want to establish trust, transparency and loyalty with our grain farmers for the success and longevity of the program,” said Margo Sechler, executive vice president for Bell & Evans. “The farmer wins from this partnership, as do Bell & Evans, Cargill, Rodale Institute and all Bell & Evans customers who pay a premium for our organic chicken and can trust they are getting true organic product.”
In 2020, Bell & Evans raised more than 63 million chickens at its partner broiler farms. That number is expected to increase by more than 50% in 2022 with completion of its New Organic Harvesting Facility this year. 100% of Bell & Evans chicks begin on organic-certified feed at its Organic Chicken Hatchery.
Cargill, a supplier partner to Bell & Evans, is committed to helping the company meet its growth projections through its specialty markets capability and extensive network of farmers.
“Cargill has a long history of providing growers with consistent access to new and emerging markets,” said Jeff Vassart, managing director for Cargill’s agricultural supply chain in North America. “We’re proud to partner with Bell & Evans and Rodale Institute to offer an innovative sourcing solution that not only helps to support their projected growth, but also can remove the barriers for farmers in their transition to organic and access to specialty grain markets.”
Rodale Institute, a Pennsylvania, US-based nonprofit, has been leading organic agriculture research, farmer training, and consumer education for over 70 years. Through this partnership with Bell & Evans and Cargill to increase domestic production of certified-organic corn and soybeans, Rodale Institute will provide the educational support and technical assistance to conventional farmers transitioning to organic through its Organic Crop Consulting Services.