Grain Craft, Indigo partner for identity preserved wheat

On Dec. 12, Grain Craft, an independent flour milling company in the United States, announced it partnered with Indigo Ag, Inc., in a supply agreement for 1 million bushels of high quality, sustainably produced and identity preserved wheat.

Indigo uses data technology and agronomic services to help independent farmers capture data on their farms that can help them improve their crop quality and crop yields year by year. Ben Allen, head of Food and Fiber at Indigo, explained the company’s goals are threefold: Aim to make farmers more money; do so in an environmentally sustainable way; and give consumers what they want.

“Those three seem fairly obvious, but there tends to be a disconnect between what consumers want and how farmers approach the world due to the commodities approach system in agriculture,” Allen said. “We bridge the gap.” Essentially, Indigo helps farmers capture the value of the crops they’re already growing and connects them to consumers who value that quality in an identity preserved system.

Indigo has already partnered with hundreds of U.S. farmers to produce Indigo Wheat at a premium of 43 cents per bushel over the price of commodity wheat. With this new agreement, Indigo will deliver wheat at harvest to Grain Craft, where it will be milled into flour for baking, foodservice and pizza customers.

“At Grain Craft, we care about our flour—the quality, the way it’s produced and the farmers who produce it,” said Alan Koenig, chief supply chain officer of Grain Craft. “We are partnering with Indigo to produce traceable and sustainable flour at scale. This is a new way of doing business that’s responsive to the needs of our customers.”

Indigo uses naturally occurring plant microbes, along with software and data tools, to increase yields of high quality wheat seed varieties without additional inputs of chemicals or fertilizer. With this focus, Indigo will support Grain Craft’s commitment to minimizing environmental impact and conserving natural resources.

As Allen explained, companies like Grain Craft can identify wheat varieties with quality attributes for baking and milling and farmers can grow them. But in the existing commodity grain handling system those attributes can get lost in the shuffle of grain. 

“Since World War II we’ve operated in a commodity-based system, where farmers are incentivized for growing quantity, not quality,” Allen said. “In today’s food market, quality is more important than ever before and we have the technological ability to deliver quality at scale for the first time. Identity preserving a million-bushel crop is new. We’re able to fulfill that ID preservation request at the volume necessary to be impactful.”

Indigo’s agronomists help their farmer clients capture data on their crops, preserving the identity of the grain from the field to storage to the customer.

“Working with Indigo and Grain Craft, I can maintain high yields while harvesting a quality product that consumers want,” said David Cleavinger, a wheat farmer in the Texas panhandle. “Being paid for quality while increasing yield and profitability has been a goal all farmers share.” can be reached at 620-227-1807 or [email protected].