FT. PAYNE, Ala. — The non-profit Soil Health Academy (SHA) today announced that it has received a $1.2 million grant from global food company General Mills to provide education and assist wheat and oat producers in targeted regions of the U.S. and Canada as they transition from conventional agricultural practices to soil health-focused regenerative agriculture systems. The grant also funds a regenerative dairy project for several dairy producers in Wisconsin that supply to General Mills.
To implement the three-year, mentoring, consulting and evaluation components of the project, SHA is partnering with the regenerative agriculture consulting firm, Understanding Ag, LLC.
According to SHA President, David Brandt, the grant represents an ongoing commitment from General Mills to ensure its producers are successful in implementing soil health-focused regenerative agricultural principles and practices.
“This is the third consecutive year SHA has received this type of grant from General Mills,” Brandt said. “The funding provided will allow SHA to partner with Understanding Ag and its world-class regenerative consultants to provide educational workshops and field days, along with critical on-farm consulting and mentoring services, to the producers involved.”
Like the previous years, Understanding Ag’s consultants will work with farmers to develop three- to five-year regenerative management plans, which also feature soil health monitoring, testing, and on-farm experimentation and learning.
Brandt said this year’s project will be enhanced by SHA’s new, on-line regenerative agriculture education platform, Regen Ag 101.
“Regen Ag 101 provides producers with 24/7 access to information and education from some of the world’s leading experts in soil health and regenerative agriculture,” said Brandt. “This virtual, interactive course was developed by SHA’s cadre of farmer-instructors who have practical, working knowledge of transitioning from conventional agriculture systems to regenerative agriculture systems, and will serve to augment the project’s in-person learning and on-farm consulting services.”
The new grant represents a continuation of General Mills’ commitment to bring soil back to life and advance regenerative agriculture on 1 million acres of farmland by 2030. Regenerative agriculture is a holistic approach to farming and ranching that seeks to strengthen ecosystems and community resilience.
“Soil Health Academy and Understanding Ag remain key partners in our efforts to advance this important work,” said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and global impact officer, General Mills. “We know that farmers learn best from other farmers and that it’s immensely helpful to have a dedicated advisor to work with when going down the regenerative path. The experience and mentorship these groups provide is critical and we’re proud to call them our partners on this journey.”