Bell & Evans has signed an agreement with Cargill and the Rodale Institute in hopes of transitioning 50,000 acres of U.S. corn and soybeans to certified organic production.
Under the five-year program, Cargill will offer incentives for farmers to make the jump to organic, offer market access for farmers’ crops during their transition, and enter an exclusive organic supply arrangement with Bell & Evans, a Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania-based premium chicken producer.
Rodale, based in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, will offer subsidized crop consulting services to participating farmers.
Bell & Evans experienced 25% growth in organic chicken sales last year and projects a 27% increase in 2021. Nearly half of its 63 million chickens were raised organically last year.
To ensure traceability and organic authenticity, the company aims to eventually buy all of its organic feed domestically.
The $500 million Bell & Evans U.S. Organic Grain Initiative project is the world’s largest market-financed organic grain transition program, according to the chicken company.