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Writing the book on helping farmers tackle climate change

Editor’s note: Kellogg recently announced InGrained™ — a $2 million, five-year program to work with Lower Mississippi River Basin rice farmers to reduce their climate impact. The focus is a reduction of methane – a greenhouse (GHG) gas that’s 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In 2022, Kellogg will pilot InGrained™ with Kennedy Rice Mill, LLC in Northeast Louisiana. The mill’s owner and president, Meryl Kennedy, shares with us what InGrained™ will mean to her farm and its 150 employees.

 

Every piece of rice farming land is different.

The soil. The way you irrigate.

Kennedy Rice Mill has been working on reducing soil erosion and water usage with Kellogg for the last six years. It’s been a great partnership that has really helped us grow. My sister, Chantel Dickson, runs our sustainability team with her husband, Ashley Dickson, our Farm Manager. They have been able to work with Kellogg on strategic projects, like organic production and transitioning our rice for their Kashi line of foods.

While, in the last couple of years, we’ve increased our focus on sustainability and the environment, Kellogg has been focused on these key points since we started doing business together.  

We are excited to be a part of this new initiative. What’s unique about Kellogg’s InGrained™ is that we can finally put some tangible numbers to our methane footprint and the impact on the planet.

There are a lot of questions with any pilot program – most notably, “How are we going to make this work?” When we briefed our team on InGrained™ recently, one of our farmers said, “Nobody has written the book on this.” This is true, farmers really do carry the weight of the world on their backs. We are expected to do all these things and feed people at a lower cost every day. Farmers are stressed, but they are also excited.

InGrained™ will show us how we’ll be supported and who will train us. The program’s other partners are measuring and providing the program’s data. That’s huge. It’s not like most other programs, where farmers must go out and buy their own data package, then figure out how to use it and report the data.

Kellogg is paying our farmers to meet these methane goals. That’s totally different than what we’ve heard in the past. Everyone wins. They are the first food company to say they are willing to support us and give back to help achieve these goals.

Most people today are aware that we have some type of global warming, but I think they’re overwhelmed and don’t know how to fix it. But Kellogg simply picked a narrow focus – methane in rice farming – as the best way to make an impactful difference. That’s smart.

The main thing to know about InGrained™ is that this is not just talk. It will be trial and error, without question. It will present its share of challenges.

But we are real people trying to make a difference, with Kellogg taking charge and putting a value to it. It’s a nice marriage between a great group of people who are beating to the same drum, protecting our earth, and putting food on the table for many generations to come.

Learn more about the initiative.

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