The organic grain transition and procurement program was introduced to Pennsylvania farmers at two recent agriculture events.
The Organic Grain Initiative offers 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.
Representatives from Bell & Evans met with farmers at the Pennsylvania Organic Farm Progress Day in Myerstown, and on two days later, 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 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 No. 1 organic producer in the country.”
While the program is still in its infancy, Bell & Evans has begun discussions with interested farmers.