- Flour-milling and ingredient company Ardent Mills expanded a program to help wheat growers in seven states and one Canadian province transition to organic farming, as part of an initiative started last year.
- The company said it will have eight organic-certified milling and packaging locations, as well as an organic storage facility.
- The company's larger plan is to double the amount of acres dedicated to organic wheat by 2019.
Organic foods sales are breaking records. According to the Organic Trade Association's 2016 Organic Industry Survey, sales in the United States reached an all-time high of $39.7 billion in 2015, representing an 11% increase from the previous year. About 5% of the total food supply is now organic.
Consumer demand for these products, which are grown or raised without artificial chemicals, drives the growth of the sector. And the focus on increasing organic grain could give wheat the jolt the industry desires following the recent slump in whole wheat sales.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the demand for organic products has surpassed the domestic supply. Manufacturers wanting to take advantage of the organic trend are looking for more sources, and may even find themselves going overseas.
With organic wheat contracted in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, Wyoming and Saskatchewan, in the last nine months Ardent Mills has been able to add organic durum, cracked wheat and spelt to its product line. The company has provided educational workshops, support services and long-term contracts to help farmers change their methods.