Pipeline Foods hopes to streamline organic supply chain, woo conventional farmers
Published: December 6, 2018
Category: Organic News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
Growing organic crops—combatting weeds, rotating crops, and maintaining certification—isn’t the only challenge organic presents. Growers also need to locate buyers, build relationships, and secure elevators to store the harvest.
Pipeline Foods of Fridley, Minnesota launched two years ago to facilitate handling of organic crops and make growing them more attractive to conventional farmers. The company recently purchased a grain elevator in Atlantic, Iowa (its fifth elevator) to “provide a locus for these crops,” said Chief Executive Eric Jackson, noting that organic grain elevators aren’t abundant. Along with co-founders Jason Charles and Neil Juhnke, the team will bolster the handling system; 60 employees buy grain from farmers and will pick it up if the farm isn’t near one of their facilities. Pipeline is targeting farmers within a 200-mile radius, including the western two-thirds of Iowa and Minnesota’s southwest corner.
Another challenge is finding buyers for the rotation crops grown on organic farms, such as buckwheat.
Mac Ehrhardt, owner of organic seed company Albert Lea Seed, pointed to the large market for organic animal feed ingredients that Pipeline Foods will help fill. The Atlantic elevator will store corn and soybeans; the four in North Dakota and Saskatchewan can handle wheat, field peas, barley, rye, and flax. Processing grain might be next in Pipeline’s pipeline.
Source: Star Tribune
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