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Country Crock’s Cover Crop Whiskey Shows Benefits of Regenerative Farming Practices

Kansas City distiller J. Rieger & Co. has crafted a one-time edition of Cover Crop Whiskey, made with cereal rye from local farms, to raise awareness of more sustainable farming practices.

Country Crock has launched its Cover Crop whiskey project — a program to bring awareness to sustainable farming practices — and The Cover Crops Project, which provides Kansas-area farmers with financial resources and training to plant cover crops.

Country Crock, a signature brand of Upfield — a leading producer of plant-based spreads in the US and Canada — is made from soybeans grown by Kansas-area farmers. Unfortunately, commodity farmers everywhere are dealing with soil fatigue from decades of monocropping — which erodes soil and depletes nutrients.

Country Crock launched The Cover Crops Project in 2020, in partnership with agricultural education non-profit No-till on the Plains, as a three-year program to support farmers with soil health education and cost-share to plant cover crops to improve soil health on fields. Since its inception, the program has enrolled acreages of cover crops in eastern Kansas and western Missouri on soybean fields that have not been previously planted with a cover crop; participating farmers are reimbursed $10 per acre for the cost of the cover crop seed.

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Elsewhere, cover cropping has become more popular in recent years as commodity farmers around the world turn to regenerative farming strategies to restore soil health by returning nutrients, minimizing pests, increasing water retention and more. Still, many farmers have yet to adopt the use of cover crops, and the general public is largely unaware of them.

So, Country Crock seized an opportunity to help educate farmers and the public on the benefits of planting cover crops — such as cereal rye — in between harvested crops to help replenish nutrient health and variety, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by returning carbon to the soil as a nutrient. To spread the word about The Cover Crops Project, Country Crock teamed up with creative agency Ogilvy; and asked local Kansas City distiller, J. Rieger & Co., to make a limited-edition, special batch of rye whiskey — born from the cereal rye now being used as a cover crop by local soybean farms — to show not only the soil benefits of cover cropping, but the potential for additional cash crops, as well.

“Cover crops are a game-changer for maintaining healthy farmlands,” says Chris Turner, Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy. “We were thrilled that Ogilvy could help raise awareness for sustainable farming practices through this limited-edition Cover Crop Whiskey.”

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