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General Mills plans ‘regenerative’ acres expansion by 2030

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — General Mills on March 4 announced it will expand regenerative agriculture practices on 1 million acres by 2030.

The company is starting with oats grown for Cheerios, Annie’s Cascadian Farm, Nature Valley and Blue Buffalo products. The oats will come from the U.S. Northern Plains and southern provinces of Canada. It will also partner with organic and conventional farmers in wheat, corn and sugar beets in the next decade.

Regenerative agriculture is a term for land management to combat climate change and includes storing carbon, cutting water use and greenhouse gases.

The company will grant $500,000 to Kiss the Ground, a non-profit organization that conducts on-farm regenerative training.

It will promote soil health by urging farmers to implement at least three of five principles to be counted in the 1 million acres. Those include reducing soil disturbance, maximizing crop diversity, keeping soil covered by with post-harvest plant material, by keeping living roots in soil all year, and integrating livestock on the landscape.

In the past four years, the company has invested $4 million to accelerate soil health adoption in North America. It partnered with the Nature Conservancy on a number of initiatives. It formed a sourcing agreement with Gunsmoke Farms west of Fort Pierre, S.D., to convert 34,000 acres of conventional farmland to certified organic acres by 2020. The farm had earlier been owned by the R.D. Offutt Co. of Fargo.