Shepherd’s Grain: ‘We Are the Regenerative Farmers’

Regenerative agriculture” appears to be the latest buzzword to explain sustainable and conservation agricultural meals manufacturing. However what does all of it entail?

As Jeremy Bunch, CEO of Shepherd’s Grain, explains, “Regenerative agriculture is an intentional method to rising carbon in soil, and that method entails farmers matching their agricultural practices to the ecosystem by which they farm. Understanding and mimicking ecosystem vitality cycles, water cycles, and soil nutrient cycles is on the coronary heart of it. The particulars change from area to area, however the ideas apply in every single place.”

Two Many years of Regenerative Farming
Shepherd’s Grain, a flour model created in 2003 in Spokane, Washington, particularly markets flour from farmers who’ve carried out these regenerative practices. This farming mannequin is the inspiration of Shepherd’s Grain and has been an ordinary for his or her farmers all through the corporate’s 20 years.

Regenerative agriculture begins with not utilizing tillage. In keeping with Bunch, no-till farming practices are foundational to rising soil carbon and permitting numerous soil biology to flourish, amongst many different advantages. Farmers producing wheat for Shepherd’s Grain flour should observe no-till, and people practices have been verified by a third-party certification, Meals Alliance, together with verifying extra sustainable farming operations.

“A whole lot of different firms are placing collectively all types of applications that farmers can join with the intention to discover and advance regenerative agriculture,” Bunch mentioned. “However Shepherd’s Grain involves the desk and says, ‘We’re the regenerative farmers.’ Shepherd’s Grain was created by farmers twenty years in the past to assist the sustainable and regenerative practices that they had been already implementing, and you may assist these farmers and their practices greatest by utilizing their flour.”

There’s a sturdy social component to the Shepherd’s Grain provide chain. Bakeries and shoppers admire figuring out who produced their meals and the way it was grown, however farmers additionally worth figuring out the place their meals finally ends up. Within the Pacific Northwest, the place a lot of the wheat is exported abroad, farmers have traditionally had little or no connection to {the marketplace}. Shepherd’s Grain modified that and allowed wheat manufacturing and flour utilization to grow to be private. Baggage of flour might be tracked to farms that grew the wheat in these baggage, nevertheless it’s only a good story if the standard isn’t there to again it up.

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Wheat High quality
In 2020, Grain Craft turned the unique miller of Shepherd’s Grain flour. Grain Craft has led the milling {industry} in efforts to advertise the commercialization of high-quality wheat varieties, which aligns effectively with Shepard Grain’s imaginative and prescient and values.

“The traceability of Shepherd’s Grain flour additionally permits for tight high quality management,” Bunch mentioned. “We now have an accepted selection record for the wheat we settle for, and they’re solely varieties that now we have confidence in – one of the best baking qualities. All of the wheat is identity-preserved from the farm by way of Grain Craft’s mills. We all know how every farm’s wheat bakes earlier than it will get to the mill. So, we’re mixing not only for a constant protein, however for all flour high quality traits. And we’re proud to be working with Grain Craft on this. Their degree of experience and excellence in high quality management and customer support is top-notch in each method.”

“Shepherd’s Grain’s skill to handle high quality by way of traceable provide chains, mixed with our varietal and flour milling experience, means we’re well-positioned to convey prime quality, sustainable flours to market.” mentioned Alan Koenig, chief provide chain officer for Grain Craft.

Shepherd’s Grain has additionally pursued analysis that appears on the connection between cropping programs and wheat and flour qualities, analysis that advantages each farmers and end-users.

“We put {dollars} into agronomic analysis to present our farmers extra instruments to farm regeneratively,” Bunch mentioned. “We now have intensive knowledge on soil carbon will increase over a number of years, exhibiting how a lot soil carbon has amassed attributable to no-till practices amongst our farmers region-wide. We now have participated in analysis that exhibits no-till-produced wheat has greater nutrient density than wheat grown in conventionally tilled cropping programs. We’re working with researchers in Germany to know how no-till produced wheat impacts gliadin and glutenin ratios in gluten, one thing that would make clear gluten sensitivity in shoppers. Management in these areas is a excessive precedence for us. This isn’t fluffy, inexperienced washing stuff. That is strong, white paper degree analysis that now we have performed or that we’re pursuing.”

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Growth
Grain Craft’s nationwide milling infrastructure is permitting Shepherd’s Grain to succeed in past the Pacific Northwest market. “Shepherd’s Grain has intensive relationships with regenerative farmers across the nation. Because the {industry} will increase its curiosity in supporting regenerative agriculture, our partnership with Shepherd’s Grain stands prepared to fulfill that demand,” Koenig mentioned.

Shepherd’s Grain has traditionally bought wheat from its farmers based mostly on a cost-of-production mannequin, and that has introduced an necessary financial sustainability component to the desk for each growers and flour prospects.

“Our farmers know they’re getting paid a price per bushel that enables them to remain in enterprise,” Bunch mentioned. “Alternatively, flour customers know that they’ve worth stability. When the commodity markets spiked attributable to worldwide occasions earlier this 12 months, Shepherd’s Grain’s flour costs didn’t transfer. Worth stability in these risky occasions permits our prospects to trust in making their enterprise plans sustainable.”

Grain Craft is producing Shepherd’s Grain Low Gluten Flour, Excessive Gluten Flour, Complete Wheat Flour, Pastry Flour, and its “00” Neapolitan-style pizza flour that’s gaining excessive recognition within the market for its high quality and efficiency.

“For 20 years Shepherd’s Grain has efficiently proven that making a direct and traceable provide chain from regenerative farmers to end-users and shoppers is essentially the most significant technique to assist regenerative farming practices,” mentioned Koenig. “Grain Craft is proud to be a companion of this necessary deal with replenishing the earth and is worked up for the alternatives forward for soil well being analysis, product transparency and improved wheat high quality for the {industry} as a complete.”

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About Shepherd’s Grain
Shepherd’s Grain was based in 2003 when a bunch of farmers devoted themselves to using solely essentially the most sustainable agricultural practices to provide wheat varieties chosen for his or her superior taste and baking qualities. Shepherd’s Grain is a farmer owned firm and consists of 45 farmers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, South Dakota and Alberta. Their dedication to high quality and sustainability continues right now as acknowledged leaders in each regenerative agriculture and superior flours.

About Grain Craft
Grain Craft, the third largest flour miller in america, is a family-owned milling firm providing premium bulk and bagged flours for the baking, meals service, pizza and tortilla industries. With over 100 years of historical past, the corporate continues the custom of working with American farmers to develop and harvest one of the best forms of wheat to offer prospects industry-leading flour. Headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Grain Craft serves prospects coast to coast by way of 12 milling places. Persons are the core of the corporate, driving glorious, protected merchandise and bettering communities.