U.S. Organic and Non-GMO Grain Production Not Keeping Pace with Demand
Last year the U.S. saw a dramatic increase in organic grain imports, driven by increasing demand and a lack of domestic supply, according to a new report issued by CoBank.
While U.S. production of non-GMO grains has increased, production of organic grains, particularly corn, and soybeans continues to fall short – in large part due to the challenges associated with the multi-year process of transitioning to organic production.
Imports of organic grain from India, Ukraine, Romania and Turkey ballooned last year with organic corn imports doubling between 2015 and 2016, and 80 percent of the U.S.’s organic soybean demand was being met by imports.
In response, leading food companies are incentivizing organic grain production by offering farmers free agronomic services and premiums for grain being grown on farmland that is in the process of transitioning to organic. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a transitional certification program for farmers and companies to market grain and products at a price between non-organic and organic ranges.