Kellogg to reward rice farmers for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/ jxfzsy
Source: Getty/ jxfzsy

Related tags: Kellogg, Rice, Farmers, Sustainability, Special K, Rice krispies

Kellogg has unveiled its InGrained initiative to help farmers reduce their climate impact in the Lower Mississippi River Basin where much of the rice for the company’s Rice Krispies and Special K cereals is produced.

"Kellogg has established itself as a committed partner to farmers in implementing climate-positive agricultural practices in important crops like rice,"​ said Steve Cahillane, chairman and CEO at Kellogg Company.

The $2 million, five-year program is part of Kellogg’s global strategy to support one million farmers and workers by the end of 2030 and aims to eliminate 51,000 tons of emissions from the North American rice ingredient supply chain – equivalent to taking more than 10,000 vehicles off the road.

Tangible numbers and rewards

The initiative launches this year with a pilot in northeast Louisiana to ensure that the program design meets farmer needs before bringing it to scale across 60,000 acres during the project timeframe.

“In the field, the pilot year will provide lessons about how to value the ecosystem services like greenhouse gas reduction that rice producers provide through their farm management decisions, with credible quantification and accounting of that impact in a supply chain,” ​Janelle Meyers, chief sustainability officer at Kellogg Company, told Food Navigator-USA.

Farmers will receive training in irrigation management, nutrient management and soil health to reduce methane production and will then receive $20 per ton of greenhouse gas emission abatement, quantified by agricultural emissions measurement firm Regrow.  

“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,” ​said Meryl Kennedy, owner and president of Kennedy Rice Mill, a partner in the test program. The mill has been working on reducing soil erosion and water usage with Kellogg for the last six years.

“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,”​ she added.

Kellogg says that the pilot also has the potential to reduce irrigation water to help conserve the region's water resources, reduce farmers' operating costs and safeguard future rice supply.

Beyond the Lower Mississippi River Basin

InGrained falls under Kellogg’s wider Origins program, which has partnered with more than 440,000 farmers in 29 countries to support climate, social and economic resilience since 2013.

In the US and in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, Origins has provided funding and technical assistance in five of Kellogg’s sourcing states – rice in Arkansas, corn and soybeans in Illinois, corn in Indiana and Nebraska and wheat in Michigan. Notable achievements include the installation of irrigation pump timers in Arkansas, a pay-for-performance program in Michigan’s Saginaw Bay watershed to incentivize soil health practices and improve water quality and support for the interseeding of cover crops in Nebraska.

“Across all states, the project includes three elements that build upon each other year after year: farmer outreach and education, practice adoption and measurement and documentation of continuous improvement,”​ Meyers explained.

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