General Mills Partnership with Gunsmoke Farms Successfully Transitions 34,000 Acre Grain Farm to Org
General Mills announced that Gunsmoke, a 34,000-acre farm located in South Dakota and growing spring wheat, winter wheat, alfalfa, oats, and Kernza, has successfully secured organic certification from the USDA National Organics Program, after being farmed conventionally for more than 30 years.
Over the past three years the partnership has fostered the introduction of regenerative agriculture practices on the farm including cover crops, diverse crop rotation, maintaining living roots in the ground year-round, and minimizing tillage that have been key in restoring the land to a holistic production system.
In 2018 General Mills forged a strategic sourcing agreement based on transitioning the land to organic that satiated the company would invest in the transition, and then source organic wheat from 10,000 acres for its Annie’s Mac & Cheese pasta products.
In the future the farm managers will work to develop plans for 3,000 acres for pollinator habitats to encourage biodiversity both above and below ground - these habitats can attract beneficial insects to the land including bumble bees, squash bees, and butterflies while also improving water quality, reduce soil erosion, and protect game and bird populations.