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The SUSTAinable South

Southern farmers and manufacturers of agricultural products are passionate about providing safe, wholesome and affordable food and farm products to consumers around the world. Embracing science and innovation makes it possible to meet global demand, keep food affordable and ensure that it is produced in the ways that are most sustainable – both environmentally and economically.

The commitment to quality, safety, environmental stewardship, science, and sustainability is upheld every day by Southern producers. Here are some of their stories.


Southern Cross Farm (Eupora, Mississippi)

Southern Cross Farm

Dr. Nancy Jackson, a licensed veterinarian, produces high quality beef at Southern Cross Farm in central Mississippi. Calves are raised on their mother's milk, roaming freely and grazing pastures that coexist with wildlife. With more than 175 head of cattle, they are among the top 5% in number of cattle in the U.S. How do they run a large operation while keeping sustainability at the core? It helps that Dr. Jackson knows the science behind her farm. For instance, she feeds her herd an additive that reduces methane emissions while improving output. She also boasts raising NHTC, non-hormone treated cattle (despite the fact that they take a 5% economic hit because of this).

In terms of the land itself, Southern Cross is committed to maintaining bio-diversity. For instance, they don’t remove dead trees from the property, for where else would the owls and woodpeckers rest? “It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing farm when you drive up, but that is not our focus.” A variety of grasses cover the farm that complement each other functionally rather than visually - in that one is to seed while another is flourishing.

A visit to the farm also shows that the cattle are fenced off from the natural streams and ponds to prevent fecal matter from contaminating water that flows to the Gulf. Instead, solar energy pumps water from streams to the cows, preserving the water quality.

These are just a few of the highlights of this responsible farming operation. Visit their Facebook page for a closer look at the farm.


Richland Distilling Company (Richland, Georgia)

RIchland farm to glass

From field to glass, Richland Rum is an authentic, “Single-Estate” rum, meaning its main ingredient, sugar cane, is grown right there on the Richland Estate only seven miles from where it will be distilled and aged. The sandy southwest Georgia soil is ideal for growing sugar cane, eliminating the need for herbicides or pesticides to grow a healthy crop. In addition to the ingredients being local, proprietors Karin and Erik Vonk pride themselves in hiring locally to support their community.
Richland is surrounded by other artisanal food and beverage producers that are ripe for collaborations, like rum-cured jerky from the grass fed beef ranch next door or barrel exchanges with the local brewery and winery. It sounds like we need to make the trip!

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Grain4Grain (San Antonio, Texas)

Grain4Grain

When a 6-pack of beer is brewed, it uses approximately 1 pound of grain, which in turn leaves behind brewers spent grain (BSG) that makes up 85 percent of brewing waste. To put this into perspective, in the US alone, approximately 20 billion pounds of BSG are produced every year. With such large quantities of BSG, breweries have spent decades attempting to develop a way to capitalize on this resource. A couple years ago Grain4Grain, a San Antonio-based FoodTech startup, developed a patent pending process that dries and mills byproducts, specifically BSG, into a low carb, high protein flour. Their innovative methodology also allows them to upcycle spent grain in under 20 minutes, down from the conventional 6 hours. This product and process provide an incredibly healthy and sustainable ingredient at affordable prices to consumers and product makers. In 2021, Grain4Grain became a SUSTA participant. Co-founder Yoni Medhin is excited about the opportunity to get these sustainable products into the hands of people around the world!

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All Y'alls Foods (Aubrey, Texas)

All Y'all Jerky Photos

As a native Texan, Brett Christoffel grew up eating plenty of meat and even more dairy products without giving it a second thought. Brett decided to adjust his eating habits, which led to start of All Y’alls Foods, a line of plant-based jerkies, in May of 2018. Brett understands that real sustainability in food supply includes plants. They make their snacks from whole non-GMO soybeans while also using some of the finest ingredients available to make It’s Jerky Y’all & It’s Big Crunchy Bacony Bits Y’all. Their jerky products also have no cholesterol or saturated animal fat with low sugar and sodium and are not a class 1 or 2 carcinogen. Whether a person is wanting to improve their health, cause no harm to animals or wants to improve the earth’s health, plants are the primary focus behind creating a solution to real sustainability.

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