Anheuser-Busch Rice Growers to Increase Yield, Reduce Water & Nutrient Use

by | Mar 12, 2019

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Photo credit: David Pursehouse, Flickr Creative Commons

Farmers that are contracted to provide rice to Anheuser-Busch will benefit from the brewing giant’s new partnership with Indigo Agriculture. The sustainable agriculture company has committed to delivering 2.2 million bushels of its “Indigo rice” – that is, rice grown with specific environmental attributes; the company will offer its growers tools to help them reduce the environmental impacts of growing rice while saving on water and nutrient input costs and increasing yield.

Indigo’s offerings include data analysis and trained on-farm professionals to show farmers how to reduce the use of chemicals, irrigation and fertilizers. Anheuser-Busch says the sourcing agreement will meet consumer demands for thoughtful sourcing, environmental responsibility, and improved economic results for farmers.

Growers contracting with Indigo to produce rice for Anheuser-Busch will reduce water and nitrogen used by 10% and achieve at least 10% savings in greenhouse gas emissions compared to state benchmarks. This partnership is the first to offer growers a solution that incentivizes the commercial production of sustainable rice, according to the companies.

“Our partnership with Indigo represents a new way of doing business, as Indigo is the first partner who will guarantee the delivery of rice with specific environmental characteristics,” Jess Newman, director of agronomy at Anheuser-Busch, told Environmental Leader.

But Best of All…

What’s most exciting about the partnership is that it delivers value across the supply chain, Newman told us. “The 10% reduction in nitrogen, water, and carbon benefits the environment and communities near our rice mill in Jonesboro, Arkansas, which helps our company deliver on our 2025 Sustainably Goals. More importantly, rice growers can earn a premium for progressive practices, save on water and nutrient input costs, and realize yield increases thanks to the Indigo microbial seed treatment for rice.”

Ingredient-sourcing is a key element of Anheuser-Busch’s goals. “Because sustainability is a top priority for our company, we believe environmental attributes in our ingredients are just as important as the more traditional quality specifications in the ingredients we use to brew our beers,” Newman says.

Reductions in water use is another element of the company’s sustainability goals. For more on the steps the company has taken to reduce water use, see our interview with Katja Zastrow, Anheuser-Busch’s VP of corporate social sustainability.

Interested in learning more about how Anheuser-Busch is meeting its sustainability goals? Join us at the fourth annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference (ELEMCON) in May, where Virginia Covo, Global Director of Supply Chain Sustainability for AB InBev, will lead a workshop.

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