What makes Kellogg’s new rice farms better for Rice Krispies and the planet?

February 9, 2023

Rice is the star ingredient in some of Kellogg’s most iconic products including Rice Krispies cereal and Rice Krispies treats. SIAL Newsroom takes a closer look at the company’s pioneering rice farming pilot and what this means for the climate.

Kellogg’s relies on rice farms for the key ingredient to its popular Rice Krispies cereal and treats. The company recently launched its Kellogg’s InGrained programme which aims to create more climate-positive practices when it comes to the early stages of making the tasty breakfast snacks. The project consists of a five-year partnership with Lower Mississippi River Basin rice farmers to help reduce their impact on the climate. Early results from the scheme have now been released, bringing positive benefits for the planet.

Rice farming releases methane gases into the atmosphere, which are 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.  During the pilot year of the programme, farmers achieved a reduction of more than 1,600 metric tons of greenhouse gases which is equal to taking more than 345 petrol-powered cars off the road for a year.

Speaking to SIAL newsroom, a Kellogg’s spokesperson explains: “The InGrained programme works with partners in the Lower Mississippi River Basin to reward rice farmers for the tons of greenhouse gas emissions they reduce, using a playbook of climate-positive practices adapted to their farms.”

Launched in 2022 in Northeast Louisiana, it runs in collaboration with leading agricultural GHG measurement firm Regrow, rice producers, Kellogg supplier Kennedy Rice Mill LLC, and agribusiness firm Syngenta.

Training opportunities are provided in irrigation management, nutrient management and soil health to support farmers’ transition to new practices, then reward farmers per MT of GHG abatement their new practices achieve, quantified with Regrow’s secure Measurement, Reporting and Verification platform.

In its first year, eligible practice changes focused on rice irrigation. Farmers chose to either integrate alternate wetting and drying practices or furrow rice. Both of these irrigation methods change the amount and timing of water put onto fields, which can reduce the methane release during the growing season.

The Kellogg’s spokesperson adds: “It is a big risk for farmers to adapt their irrigation practices; it exposes them to increased weed, disease and pest risks and may reduce yield in some varieties. These practices are still new in rice production in North America, so the InGrained programme is designed to help de-risk these practices for the growers.”

Kellogg's sustainable rice farming pilot
Credit: Tuân Nguyễn Minh

Kellogg’s InGrained contributes to the company’s Better Days Promise to advance sustainable and equitable access to food and create ‘better days’ for three billion people by the end of 2030. This includes supporting one million farmers and reducing Scope 3 GHG emissions across our value chain by 15% by the end of 2030.

Its goal by the end of 2030 is to reach one million farmers and workers, including smallholders and women, with programmes focused on climate, social, and financial resiliency.

Kimberley Sundy, senior director of global sustainability for Kellogg’s, adds: “Kellogg’s InGrained programme is a programme that provides technical and financial assistance to rice farmers to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are working with five family farms to pilot this initiative and really doing our part to make sure that we are creating the future that we want to see. It’s really magnificent to be able to come to a farm like this one and to see the values that we have being implemented, being exercised and actually working in the field to help to shape the planet and help provide a climate positive future for the world.”

Chantel Dickson is a sustainability manager for Kennedy Rice Farms, in North East Louisiana, one of the five farms participating in the pilot project.

She comments: “Conventional rice practices has methane that goes into the atmosphere and one of our biggest concerns being rice farmers is we want to leave less of a footprint for generations to come. It’s been a great first pilot year and we’re excited about what we’ve produced and to be able to be helping with emissions in this way.”

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