Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania — Premium poultry producer Bell & Evans introduced an organic grain transition and procurement program to Pennsylvania farmers at two agriculture events this week.
Bell & Evans Organic Grain Initiative will offer farmers financial assistance during and after the organic land conversion by way of contracted premium pricing for transitional grains and long-term contracts up to 10 years for organic-certified grains after the three-year transitional period. Procurement of grains will occur right at the farm, and grains will be processed in Pennsylvania. Bell & Evans and its partners will also offer training and support to farmers to ensure their success.
On Tuesday, Bell & Evans representatives met with farmers at the Pennsylvania Organic Farm Progress Day in Myerstown, and on Thursday, Bell & Evans Owner Scott Sechler and company representatives attended a private organic farmer appreciation event hosted by Boyd Station, its partner in organic soybean procurement and processing.
“Organic grain farming is a unique opportunity for farmers to stay in business at profitable levels and also secure a future for their children who may want to stay on the farm and work the land,” said Boyd Station Organic Grain Manager Spencer Miller.
In January 2019, Bell & Evans joined several other Pennsylvania public and non-governmental organizations in signing the High Performance Farms Initiative (HPFI) in which Bell & Evans made a commitment to promote organic farming practices in the Commonwealth and establish long-term contracts and premium pricing for farmers converting to organic.
“We introduced the first all-natural chicken to the market more than 20 years ago, raised on all-vegetarian feed and without antibiotics, before there was a demand,” said Bell & Evans Owner Scott Sechler. “It was the right thing to do then, and it led us to adopt organic practices 10 years ago as demand for all-natural and organic products increased. Today, more than 40% of our production is organic, and I’m setting out to help Pennsylvania become the number one organic producer in the country.”
Bell & Evans representatives will be at Ag Progress Days at Penn State next week.
While the program is still in its infancy, Bell & Evans has begun discussions with interested farmers. More information about Bell & Evans Organic Grain Initiative can be found at www.paorganicgrain.com.