Anheuser-Busch 1st to adopt new US Farmed Certification consumer label to boost American agriculture

American Farmland Trust seeks to boost a new market niche for U.S. farmers.

March 25, 2024, 2:52 PM

Shoppers will soon see a new seal on food and beverage products to help consumers understand the importance of domestic sourcing, and ultimately, make it easier to support and invest in American agriculture.

American Farmland Trust (AFT), a nonprofit that has helped keep American farmers on their land for more than four decades with a holistic approach to agriculture practices, launched a new U.S. Farmed Certification for products that derive at least 95% of their ingredients from farms in the U.S.

The nonprofit came up with this new certification and a corresponding product label for consumer-packaged goods (CPG) to help shoppers easily identify and purchase domestically sourced products, starting with Anheuser-Busch leading in its adoption as the inaugural company to obtain the U.S. Farmed Certification.

An American farmer checks crops to source for Anheuser-Busch.

The nation's largest domestic beer producer will debut the new seal on four of its leading beer brands, with the first rolling out on Busch Light cans this May, followed by Budweiser, Bud Light, and Michelob ULTRA, which have also obtained the new certification.

The AFT has encouraged other companies across the CPG industry that use U.S. grown ingredients to obtain the certification and said in a press release it will use funds from those certifications to provide U.S. farmers across all 50 states with free expert resources to help advise them on access, protection and maintenance for American farmlands.

What to know about new U.S. Farmed Certification

Beth Sauerhaft, Acting President and CEO of AFT, told "Good Morning America" that the certification is "a bold step to help secure the future of American agriculture" that she hopes will "create both a movement and a market niche" for U.S. farmers.

She reiterated that consumers who purchase U.S. Farmed certified products make a tangible impact on American farmers by helping to "ensure a vibrant and thriving agricultural community for generations to come" so that "land that sustains us remains in farming and its soils stay healthy and productive."

"It is a rigorous process," Sauerhaft told "GMA" of the time it takes for a product to become U.S. Farmed certified, which can vary. "In order to qualify, companies must pass an audit report conducted by a third-party, external auditor verifying that the product contains at least 95% ingredients derived from farms in the United States. American Farmland Trust then conducts a thorough review of the audit to ensure all certification requirements are met before the product may receive the U.S. Farmed seal."

Anheuser-Busch is the first U.S. Farmed Certified product to add the new label backed by the American Farmland Trust to its brands.

Each company that gets the certification, according to Sauerhaft, "has the potential to open new opportunities for farmers to receive assistance with succession planning, farmland protection tools for their operations, and other useful tactics to safeguard their land – our nation's food systems."

In addition to Anheuser-Busch's leadership, she said AFT has encouraged other CPG companies "to join this effort by reaching out to us and certifying qualifying products U.S. Farmed."

"Business commitment and consumer choice will generate a ripple effect," Sauerhaft said. "A thriving agricultural sector creates jobs in rural communities, strengthens local economies, and contributes to a robust national economy and healthy food system."

Anheuser-Busch becomes 1st product with new AFT certification seal

"Anheuser-Busch has supported the U.S. agriculture community for over 165 years and partners with more than 700 American farmers," Sauerhaft said. "They invest over $700 million each year to source high-quality barley, rice, corn and hops from their partners around the country."

One such farmer, Luke Adams who has worked with Anheuser-Busch for decades, said in a statement that "as a third-generation barley farmer, my family has been growing high-quality ingredients for companies like Anheuser-Busch for decades, but until today, consumers couldn't see that."

The new U.S. Farmed label on a can of Busch Light.

The farmer and owner of Timm Adams Farms added that he was "thrilled to see AFT launch the U.S. Farmed certification and proud to grow for the first company to join the effort."

"Knowing that consumers can choose to support not just me, but all farmers across our country, means a lot to my family and to the people on my farm whose jobs rely on their purchases," Adams continued.

Sauerhaft hopes that Anheuser-Busch pioneering the U.S. Farmed certification will prompt "increased demand for American-grown products" which, again, can help ensure "agriculture continues to be one of our nation’s key economic drivers."

Other agriculture industry leaders that work with Anheuser-Busch, including Peter Bachmann the President and CEO of the USA Rice Federation, Maggie Elliot, Science and Communications Director of the Hop Growers of America, National Corn Growers Association President and Minnesota-based farmer Harold Wolle, Chris Engelstad the President of the National Barley Growers Association, and the Hop Research Council hailed the new work led by the American Farmland Trust for creating new opportunities for development and empowering domestic growers while highlighting the importance of a U.S manufacturing base.