General Mills announced a new deal with Organic Valley Wednesday that will help about 20 dairy farms add 3,000 acres to organic dairy production throughout the next three years.
The program with Wisconsin-based Organic Valley will drive more acres in the U. into the organic certification process and builds upon General Mills’ commitment to double the organic acreage from which it sources ingredients by 2019. The partnership will support increased production for the company’s yogurt business that includes brands such as Yoplait, Annie's, Liberté and Mountain High.
“To ensure we are able to deliver great tasting organic yogurt offerings to our consumers we are committed to supporting a framework in partnership with Organic Valley that will not only ensure a consistent supply chain, but also make it easier for dairy farmers to successfully manage through the transition to organic,” says David Clark, president of the General Mills Yogurt Operating Unit.
While demand for organic food is increasing in the US, supply has not been able to keep up. In the US, acreage devoted to organic agriculture is about one percent of total cropland, according to USDA.
Since 2009, General Mills says it has increased the organic acreage it supports by 120 percent and is now among the top five organic ingredient purchasers — and the second largest buyer of organic fruits and vegetables — in the North American packaged food sector.