Michelob Ultra Offers Risk-Free Contracts to Growers Shifting to Organic

by | Jul 11, 2019

(Credit: Michelob Ultra)

Another beer brand is focusing on helping their barley suppliers improve their crops. Michelob Ultra Pure Gold, a USDA-certified organic product, has launched an initiative that will support American barley farmers who want to transition conventional fields to try organic production for the first time. The brand is committing to buying the barley from these farms throughout the transition process.

Shifting to certified organic crops is a costly and time-consuming process, but as the demand for organic barley increases, it is an opportunity to capture extra value for their production, according to Michelob Ultra Pure Gold brewer Anheuser-Busch. In order to help farmers make the switch and undergo a risky three-year transition period with uncertain future markets, Michelob Ultra will sign long-term, full-rotation contracts to purchase the barley grown from the beginning of the transition period through the first year of organic production.

Pure Gold will purchase transitional barley at a “premium price,” supporting farmers during the transition window. In addition, farmers participating in the “Contract for Change” program will benefit from the ability to sell organic crops other than barley that are grown in the rotation, Anheuser-Busch says.

Earlier this year, Anheuser-Busch announced a partnership with Indigo Agriculture meant to benefit farmers that are contracted to provide rice to the brewer. The sustainable agriculture company has committed to delivering 2.2 million bushels of its “Indigo rice” – rice grown with specific environmental attributes – to Anheuser-Busch; 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.

Tied to Anheuser-Busch’s Better World efforts, these new initiatives are another step toward the company achieving its 2025 US Sustainability Goals, one of which focuses on Smart Agriculture and financial empowerment across the company’s 1,000 direct contract barley, rice, and hops farmers.

Molson Coors Brewing Company is another brewer helping barley growers capture increased value from their crops. The company will help them prepare for the possibility of a decline in barley yields in coming years by supporting them as they adopt more sustainable practices. The company is installing weather stations and soil moisture probes across barley farms in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado as part of its efforts to help farmers future-proof their businesses and ensure its own future supply of the necessary grain.

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