After a successful pilot year, the two companies report GHG emissions and water savings well beyond their original targets — growers saved over 2 billion gallons of water and reduced emissions over 26%.
In March 2019, Anheuser-Busch (AB) announced a partnership with Indigo Agriculture — a leader in regenerative agriculture practices that works with growers to improve profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health through the use of natural microbiology and digital technologies — to advance sustainable production of rice, a key ingredient in Budweiser and other lighter-colored beers.
Indigo committed to delivering 2.2 million bushels of its Indigo Rice™ to AB that is grown with specific environmental attributes. The goal was for the growers to reduce water and nitrogen used by 10 percent and achieve at least 10 percent savings in greenhouse gas emissions compared to state benchmarks. The partnership was the first of its kind to offer growers an end-to-end solution that incentivizes the commercial production of sustainable rice.
This week, Indigo and Anheuser-Busch — which is the largest end user of rice in the US — announced the results of their partnership. The resource and emissions savings achieved in the program’s first year significantly exceeded the targets set forth by the companies:
An average decrease of 23.7 percent water use compared to historical county averages, totaling over 2 billion gallons — or enough to supply the city of Jonesboro, Arkansas (where AB’s rice mill is based) for one year.
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An average reduction of 13.3 percent in nitrogen application, or nearly 250,000 pounds — the weight of 10 tractor trailers.
An average reduction of 26.6 percent in emissions of methane, a key greenhouse gas equivalent to 5,296 metric tons of carbon dioxide —the annual emissions of 1,151 passenger vehicles.
The success of the partnership helped AB advance three of its 2025 sustainability goals: smart agriculture, watershed health and carbon emissions. Additionally, the methods by which Indigo measured on-farm environmental savings helped the brewer to create additional income streams for growers through the abatement and sequestration of on-farm emissions with Indigo Carbon.
Following the success of the pilot, Indigo and AB have extended their partnership through the 2020 growing season — and expanded the scope of the program to nearly 2.7M bushels, broadening its pool of participating growers, and experimenting with new methods and technologies.