Sustainable Agriculture at MillerCoors
Timeline for protecting silver creek valley

Sustainable Agriculture

At MillerCoors, we take a hands-on approach to sourcing the high-quality grains we need to brew our high-quality beers. We work directly with more than 800 barley growers to develop great quality barley and long-term sustainable barley production. We support initiatives to protect the water and land in barley-growing regions.

Grower Direct Program

Our Grower Direct program provides as much as 75 percent of the barley we use to make our beers. Through this program, MillerCoors contracts directly with approximately 800 barley growers in Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Our growers agree to use our barley seeds, and their resulting barley crops must meet high standards. The MillerCoors team of expert agronomists consults with local barley growers regarding barley varieties, irrigation, acceptable pesticides, crop rotation and sustainable farming practices. After the barley is harvested and checked for quality, we store it in one of our six grain elevators. We retain samples from all of the growers’ harvests and develop a database to increase transparency regarding the origins of each crop. By working closely with our barley growers, we develop great quality barley and long-term sustainable barley production, which reduces risk for both MillerCoors and our barley growers.

Barley Research and Development

At MillerCoors, we need a steady supply of high-quality barley to brew our high-quality beers, so we take a hands-on approach to growing the best barley. We have our own research and development team, who focuses on improving barley varieties and agricultural practices to help our growers sustainably produce malting-quality barley. We do not make recommendations to our barley growers by sitting in offices — we test new barley varieties and agricultural practices in our own fields on our company farms and then we share our results directly with our farmers.

Learn more about our barley research and development efforts.

Protecting Silver Creek Valley

Silver Creek is a unique, high desert spring creek system surrounded by fertile agricultural ground in southern central Idaho . The Nature Conservancy  manages a large nature preserve surrounding the headwaters of Silver Creek. Since we source some of our barley from the Silver Creek Valley, we teamed up with our growers and the Nature Conservancy starting in 2008 to restore wetland habitat, conserve water and monitor stream flows and water temperatures at Silver Creek.

Learn more about our sustainability efforts in Silver Creek Valley.

Water As A Crop

“Conservation practices that enhance water resources within the Trinity River basin are critical as the river provides water to nearly 40 percent of Texans. Projects like Water As A Crop are vital in these rural watersheds, and landowners are a key part to improve the water and wildlife of the basin.” – Ken Klaveness, executive director of Trinity Waters 

MillerCoors is a primary sponsor of the Water As A Crop™  pilot project aimed at implementing conservation practices on private lands along the Trinity River, a vital water source for Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. Located southeast of our Fort Worth Brewery, the Water As A Crop™ project supports our commitment to sustainable water management.

Through this initiative, the Sand County Foundation teams with landowners and conservation groups to protect and restore watersheds on private lands. To encourage voluntary conservation practices, MillerCoors reimburses farmers and ranchers for the costs to implement watershed projects that naturally manage water runoff, improve water quality and improve the economic viability of farms.

By the end of 2011, five landowners have signed agreements that affect approximately 200 acres of land.  Several more landowners are evaluating conservation practices to implement on their lands in 2012. In all, the Sand County Foundation aims to enroll 15 landowners and more than 1,000 acres of private land for enhanced watershed conservation through the Water As A Crop program by 2013. We expect that the program will have a demonstrable impact on water quality and quantity in the Trinity River basin.