Leading the way to meet growing customer and consumer demand, Ardent Mills, the premier flour-milling and ingredient company, announced a new organic initiative committed to helping U.S. wheat growers double organic wheat acres by 2019.

 “Ardent Mills’ vision is to be the trusted partner in nurturing our customers, consumers and communities through innovative and nutritious grain-based solutions, and our new organic initiative demonstrates one of the many ways we’re bringing that vision to life,” says Ardent Mills CEO Dan Dye. “Today, there is growing demand from restaurants and food companies for organic wheat flour for use in fresh, packaged and menu recipes. This is a significant opportunity for growers to become a part of an emerging market and to create additional value for their crops on the path to organic certification. We have been providing organic flour since 1996 and feel we are well positioned to meet this bold challenge.”

Ardent Mills vice president of risk management Mike Miller says, “We’re very excited to work with farmers as they transition to this growing market and to provide our customers with an assured supply in support of their new product and menu introductions. We know there is demand that will continue to increase well into the future. We’ve heard from farmers we work with, and we understand the barriers that they face when transitioning to organic. Ardent Mills is addressing these challenges with our Organic Initiative 2019.”

“Based on our customer and consumer research, we see considerable demand for products produced with wheat from our program. We will provide a robust supply chain to meet the growing consumer demand for a variety of organic grain-based products,” says Ardent Mills vice president of sales Dean Grossmann.

As farmers join the Ardent Mills’ organic initiative, they will have access to direct support services, workshops, and long-term contracts for transitional and organic wheat bushels.

"Oregon Tilth is eager to share best practices and share knowledge among farmers working through the challenges of transition to organic agriculture. We believe that collaborative education—peer-to-peer learning, model sharing, and capacity building—serves to support successful entry into organic farming, offering buyers and farmers a solid path to connect market opportunities with on-the-ground efforts to implement sustainable conservation practices on the farm,” says Sarah Brown, Oregon Tilth education director.

“Ardent Mills has been a great industry partner and we commend the company for reaching out to our growers to offer new incentives to meet a growing market segment,” says Brett Blankenship, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. “There is an opportunity for a premium, and the incentive gives farmers access to an additional market and a new income stream while meeting growing consumer demand for organic wheat flour and organic foods,” he adds. “Ardent Mills is to be commended for developing an incentive-based approach that may be attractive to our growers.”