In December 2015, Ardent Mills unveiled plans to help U.S. wheat growers double organic wheat acres. Now, the flour-milling and ingredient company has expanded its producer program to a total of seven U.S. states and a Canadian province while adding more organic-certified milling and packaging locations along with storage.
“Since our initial announcement, we have continued to see growing demand from restaurants and food companies for organic wheat flour for use in fresh, packaged and menu recipes,” says Dan Dye, chief executive officer of Ardent Mills. “This is a significant opportunity for growers to become a part of an emerging market and to create additional value for their crops on the path to organic certification. We have been providing organic flour since 1996 and are well positioned to meet this bold challenge.”
Shrene White, director of specialty, risk management, at Ardent, says the addition of regional and national products helps Ardent deliver supply assurance and scalability.
“Since 2015, we’ve added organic durum, organic cracked wheat and organic spelt to our product mix, which also includes organic whole wheat flour, organic bread wheat flour, organic all-purpose wheat flour and organic pastry flour, various ancient grains and breads made at our Innovative Bakery Resources (IBR) facility,” Ms. White says.
Ardent Mills contracts organic wheat acres in seven states (Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming) and a Canadian province (Saskatchewan). The company said it soon will have a total of eight organic-certified milling and packaging locations along with a storage facility, all focused on quality, consistency, and performance.
“We’re very excited to work with farmers as they transition to this growing market and to provide our customers with an assured supply in support of their new product and menu introductions,” says Mike Miller, vice-president of risk management at Ardent. “We know there is demand that will continue to increase well into the future. We understand the barriers our growers face when transitioning to organic. Ardent Mills is addressing these challenges with our Organic Initiative 2019.”
Beginning in January 2016, Ardent Mills hosted a series of grower meetings in the west as an opportunity for farmers to learn more about the company’s Organic Initiative 2019 as well as organic certification in general. The sessions were coordinated in conjunction with Oregon Tilth, a nonprofit certifier and educator.
“As farmers join this effort, they will have direct support services, workshops and long-term contracts for transitional and organic wheat bushels,” Ms. White says.
Wheat producers interested in working with Ardent Mills on its Organic Initiative 2019 should contact Ms. White by email at Organic.Initiative2019@ardentmills.com , or call 844-421-2068 or visit www.ardentmills.com/tcap.