In a move that will help reduce how much the American food market relies on foreign growers to supply organic products — which has in the past raised questions about lax regulations and inspections — General Mills announced a deal with Gunsmoke Farms to grow enough organic wheat to supply the Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese line. The plan sets a goal for Gunsmoke to convert 34,000 acres of its land near Pierre, South Dakota, to organic by 2020.
It’s expected to become South Dakota’s largest organic crop farm, which is of little surprise in a state where organic currently has a relatively small footprint.
In the early part of this decade, there was a surge in organic wheat imports to the U.S., with Argentina being among the fastest-growing suppliers.
According to a report from ABC News, Gunsmoke Farms will include about 3,000 acres of pollinator habitat to help reduce its environmental impact, one of General Mills’ corporate goals.
Gary Zimmer, of Midwestern BioAg, a partner in the project, told ABC News that Gunsmoke needs natural waterways re-established, as well as cover crops and no-till practices adopted.