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Coffee maker Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR - Analyst Report) has teamed up with Radio Lifeline, a non-profit organization in the U.S. to help farmers fight the effects of climate change and increase crop yields.

The joint venture has partnered with re:char, a leading developer of small-scale biochar technologies, based in Kenya. Their flagship Black Earth Project is a two-year research project which aims to evaluate the effectiveness of biochar when used as a soil amendment by smallholder coffee and pyrethrum farmers in Rwanda.

The project will produce biochar by utilizing agricultural crop residues like dried corn stalks, grasses, rice hulls and coffee pulp as well as cow manure and wood chips.

The biochar produced in the test will be applied on test plots within Rwanda’s coffee and pyrethrum farming sectors to measure the benefits. The project is scheduled to begin on Mar 3 in Butare, Rwanda. The progress of the project will be updated regularly through its blog and on its website, www.radiolifeline.org.

The project will prove beneficial to the company as it will insulate the farmers from the rapid climate change and also increase crop yield, thus boosting earnings in fiscal 2013.

First Quarter Earnings Results

On February 8, 2013, Green Mountain Coffee delivered robust first quarter 2013 adjusted earnings (excluding amortization of identifiable intangibles and SEC-inquiry related expenses) of 76 cents per share that surpassed the year-ago quarter earnings of 60 cents by 27%. It also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 65 cents by 17% on the back of solid top-line growth and lower interest expense.

Future Outlook

The company has refined its adjusted earnings per share outlook and capital investment for fiscal 2013, but reiterated its net sales growth and free cash flow estimates. Green Mountain expects its adjusted earnings in the range of $2.72 to $2.82 per share, up from the prior guidance range of $2.64 to $2.74 per share.

Green Mountain also provided its outlook for the second quarter of 2013. For the second quarter, the company expects adjusted earnings per share in the range of 70 cents to 75 cents and sales growth in the range of 14% to 18%. The guidance reflects the company’s continuous efforts to increase brand investments and product innovations.

The Zacks Consensus Estimates for the second quarter and fiscal 2013 are pegged at 72 cents and $2.80 per share, respectively.

Green Mountain currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Equally well rated investments that offer exposure to the attractive food industry include Core-Mark Holding Company Inc. (CORE - Snapshot Report), Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. (NGVC - Snapshot Report) and Vitamin Shoppe Inc. (VSI - Snapshot Report), all of which carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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