Limagrain: local added-value agricultural production
Since its founding, Limagrain has focused on offering its farmer members added-value production so that they can earn a living from their work. From its enclosed region far from ports, Limagrain has been able to establish integrated agri-food chains and chains co-built with other local players. These chains ensure that Cooperative farmer members have opportunities for their production and they supply raw materials to local agri-food industries using short channels. Limagrain has decided not to rely solely on these historic chains (wheat, seed corn, grain corn) and is exploring new pathways with grain pulses, alfalfa, and oats to continue to offer its farmer members a choice in production adapted to the local conditions and consumer expectations, and which can be processed close by.
An approach supportive of alfalfa hay, a short channel between the plain and the mountains
In 2017, Limagrain and the Saint Nectaire cheese Interprofession began this new initiative to meet the needs of livestock farmer growers of the Saint-Nectaire AOP (Protected Designation of Origin) cheese looking for quality types of production, as well as the needs of Cooperative farmer members looking for diversification crops.

Indeed, the vicissitudes of the weather and the proliferation of pests, more and more frequent, can impact the production of forage on Saint Nectaire farms, leading growers to look for forage procurement sources. The specifications of the Saint Nectaire AOP cheese state that a minimum 70% of the cow ration must be composed of grass from the designation area, which means that a maximum of 30% of the ration, most notably dry forage such as alfalfa hay, can be bought from other regions. However, rather than procuring this forage from northern France or Spain, growers turned to the region of the plain of Limagne Val d'Allier, only 50 km away. Alfalfa hay is rich in fiber and protein. It thus complements the rather fine mountain hay and enables limiting the purchase of concentrated feed, an important criterion for cow health.
Cooperative farmer members, for their part, were looking for new sources of added-value production, allowing them to diversify their crop rotation, capture nitrogen from the air in the soil while also restructuring it and creating buffer zones necessary for the production of corn and sunflower seeds.

The two partners thus decided to contract out the production for three years, through a simple and motivating sales policy. Farmers have a guaranteed level of income, while quality is compensated for through a markup based on the percentage of nitrogen material.

This year, a dozen farmer members from the Limagrain Cooperative participated. For the 80 hectares contracted out, the results have been encouraging in quantity and quality. The goal is to reach 200 hectares in 2021 and 1,000 additional hectares in the medium term. The Cooperative supplies alfalfa hay to agricultural businesses in the region and soon hopes to provide other AOP cheese makers in the Region.
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The Saint-Nectaire AOP
Saint-Nectaire cheese obtained the registered designation of origin in 1955¹. The Saint-Nectaire designation area is spread across the counties of Puy-de-Dôme and Cantal and represents the smallest AOP area in Europe with 1,800 km². In 2019, 14,367 tonnes of Saint-Nectaire unpasteurized (fermier) and pasteurized (laitier) cheese were sold, making it the No. 3 French AOP cow-milk cheese and the No. 1 AOP unpasteurized cheese in Europe.
To learn more, please visit
the Saint-Nectaire AOP website (in French)
Better access to water
for the entire region
The consolidation and development of new chains for the Cooperative, and more generally, the stability and strengthening of the agricultural and agri-food economy in the Puy-de-Dôme county and the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region are closely tied to access to water. While there is a sufficient amount of rainfall, it has become urgent to initiate land use planning projects that allow for it to be stored so it can be used efficiently when needed.

In Limagne, the average annual rainfall is between 530 mm and 680 mm and 2.3 billion m³ of water / year pass through the region, mainly in the Allier river. This is why Limagrain has, along with the Chamber of Agriculture and the Chamber of Commerce of Puy-de-Dôme county, committed to promoting sustainable water management and encouraging initiatives for the efficient use and support of this resource.
Limagrain integrated
agri-food chains
Early in the 1980s, Limagrain began building integrated agri-food chains: the semolina corn chain and the improver and hard wheat chain. The wheat chain goes from plant breeding adapted to the conditions of the Limagne Val d'Allier plain to processing sandwich loaves by our Jacquet factory in Saint-Beauzire (Puy-de-Dôme county). The corn chain goes from plant breeding and corn production to processing breakfast cereals by Brüggen, a partner company located in Thiers (Puy-de-Dôme county) for the past 10 years.
To learn more click here
¹ AOP is a European mark. It protects the product name throughout the European Union. The French version of the AOP is AOC (Registered Denomination of Origin). It protects the product in France. Source (in French):