Social Innovation: General Mills Works With Famers in Idaho To Grow Sustainable Wheat

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Social Innovation: General Mills Works With Famers in Idaho To Grow Sustainable Wheat

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.@GeneralMills, The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, and future of #Sustainable #Wheat @Justmeans
Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 1:05pm



The sustainable future of wheat is very important to southeastern Idaho and a social innovation wheat pilot program in that region is now underway. The project is supported by General Mills which is working with Field to Market: The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a diverse alliance working to create opportunities across the agricultural supply chain for continuous improvements in productivity, environmental quality, and human well-being. The pilot involves working with about 25 growers to learn more about how their on-farm decisions impact yields and the environment. Farmers here are typically on a crop rotation cycle that includes the famous Idaho potato, sugar beets and wheat.

To track data from this social innovation initiative, the participating growers are using software called the 'Field Print Calculator.' It provides growers detailed reports on how they are performing against key indicators such as carbon emissions, soil loss, yield efficiency, water use and energy use. The resulting "field print" gives them a baseline to see how their operations compare to other growers in the region, across the state and nationally.

The participants are entering information for three growing years, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Jerry Lynch, vice president and chief sustainability officer at General Mills, who provided an overview of the pilot and why sustainable agriculture is so important to General Mills says, "We want to be proactive, not reactive in how we source our ingredients. Our business relies on these natural resources, so we need to do everything we can to protect and conserve them."

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Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.