Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, a brand of St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, launched a new initiative called Contract for Change that supports American barley farmers who want to transition conventional fields to try organic production for the first time. The brand, alongside expert agronomists, will provide assistance to farmers as they navigate the costly and time-consuming steps required to grow certified organic crops.
As the demand for organic barley increases, the Contract for Change program aims to enable the entire organic industry.
To make the switch to organic, farms must undergo a three-year transition period with uncertain future markets, which can be expensive and therefore prohibits many farmers from making the switch, according to the company.
Michelob ULTRA, a USDA-certified organic beer, will sign long-term, full-rotation contracts to purchase the barley grown from the beginning of the transition period through the first year of organic production. Pure Gold will purchase transitional barley at a premium price, supporting farmers during the transition window. In addition, farmers participating in Contract for Change will benefit from the ability to sell organic crops other than barley that are grown in the rotation.
“A quality beer starts with the farmers dedicated to producing the best ingredients,” said Azania Andrews, vice president of Michelob ULTRA, in a statement. “We are proud to support the expansion of the organic grains industry by enabling farmers who want to make the transition to produce organic.”
Tied to Anheuser-Busch's Better World efforts, the new initiative is another step toward the company achieving its ambitious 2025 U.S. Sustainability Goals, one of which focuses on smart agriculture and financial empowerment across the company's 1,000 direct contract barley, rice, and hops farmers, the company says.
With the success of Pure Gold, Michelob ULTRA recognizes the importance of making organic ingredients more accessible, and this starts with supporting farmers in local communities across the country.
“I want to congratulate Anheuser-Busch for their innovative Michelob ULTRA Contract for Change,” said Buzz Mattelin, president of the National Barley Growers Association, in a statement. “The contract is a welcomed opportunity for American barley farmers to diversify and capture extra value for their production. The purchase guarantees and transitional premiums will aid growers if they choose to transition toward organic production.”