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U.S. Secretary Vilsack Recognizes AgriCapture as First USDA-Funded Climate-Smart Project to Hit the Market

FOUNTAIN CITY, WI – On Tuesday morning, AgriCapture, Columbia Grain International, and Great River Milling welcomed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to celebrate the first USDA-funded climate-smart product: Great River Milling Sustainably Grown Long Grain Rice.

Over 100 guests gathered at Great River Milling to hear from Secretary Vilsack, AgriCapture Founder and Executive Chairman, John Farris, and Climate-Friendly Rice Farmer, Jim Whitaker.

In 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $3.1 billion in grants to over 140 projects through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative. AgriCapture received $7.5 million to develop a market for Climate-Friendly Rice and verify the benefits of climate-smart practices, including reduced water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

With this first climate-smart product, AgriCapture has delivered on three important points: farmer incentives, verification of results, and building a market for climate-friendly rice.

Working with AgriCapture, 30 rice farmers received $75/acre to grow Climate-Friendly Rice and suppliers of the Great River Milling products received an additional 10% premium over conventional rice pricing.

AgriCapture used satellite imagery, geospatial modeling, and field data to monitor, measure, and verify that farmers used climate-smart practices. Their efforts resulted in over 1,000 tons of methane abated from our atmosphere and over 6.5 billion gallons of water saved.

AgriCapture certifies that rice was identity preserved from farm to packaging, maintaining quality and environmental benefits during harvest, transportation, and milling. 

“Every year I would take my grain to market and dump it with everyone else’s, and it lost its value. It had no value once it was co-mingled with everyone else’s – until now,” said rice farmer Jim Whitaker.

Identity preservation from conventionally grown rice is important to growing the market for value-added rice.

“We are so thankful that Columbia Grain, Great River Milling, and Enrich Foods stepped up to be the first purchaser of 50 million pounds of Climate-Friendly Rice, and this bag represents the first climate-smart product introduced to the consumer market,” said John Farris.

Great River Milling Sustainably Grown Long Grain Rice products feature the Climate-Friendly Certified by AgriCapture seal, communicating sustainability and traceability.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, applauded AgriCapture and Columbia Grain International for coming together to lead the way forward for American agriculture.

“It’s an exciting day for us at the USDA, and it’s an opportunity for us to create a different narrative about American agriculture,” said Secretary Vilsack with the Great River Milling rice product in hand. “So, you get a benefit environmentally, you get a benefit economically, and you also get the opportunity to create an image of American agriculture that is innovative and committed to sustainability.”

Secretary Vilsack highlighted AgriCapture’s ability to produce big results, being the first grant project to directly incentivize rice farmers, measure and verify environmental benefits, and launch a Climate-Friendly Certified product in the marketplace.

Missed the event livestream? Watch the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Celebration here.