MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. is launching a three-year regenerative dairy pilot, the third initiative of its kind and the first for the company’s dairy ingredient supply.
It will work with dairy cooperative Foremost Farms and consulting firm Understanding Ag to pilot regenerative practices and provide support to participating farmers. Participants were chosen for their proximity to General Mills’ dairy manufacturing facility in Reed City, Mich., which produces a variety of Yoplait products.
Partners will monitor and measure impacts to soil, biodiversity, water, animal welfare and farm profitability.
“As an industry, dairy farms have been especially hard hit in recent months and their resiliency is being tested,” said Doug Martin, president of the General Mills US yogurt business. “We believe regenerative agriculture builds and strengthens farmer resilience so they can better withstand pressures, be it societal, financial or environmental. Consumers increasingly want to support brands and companies they trust are acting as environmental stewards. This pilot with Yoplait is a great example of the role our brands can play in unleashing the scale of our supply chain — supporting farmers, promoting animal welfare, and improving the health of the planet, all while delivering a great-tasting product.”
The company also is supporting a team of researchers from Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison that will model impacts from changes in farming practices.
The announcement builds on General Mills’ commitment to advance regenerative agriculture on 1 million acres of farmland by 2030. In March 2019, the company launched a regenerative oat pilot with farmers in North Dakota and Canada. A second pilot, focused on regenerative wheat, launched in January 2020.