Feed-grade organic commodity production in the United States fails to meet the growing market demands.
Read the entire report about organic grain fraud exclusively in the April issue of Feed Strategy.
Today, less than 1 percent of total U.S. corn and soybean production is organic. While no hard data exists, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sources suggest most of this production is being used in animal feed due to “the rapid expansion in the U.S. organic egg, poultry and dairy sectors over the last decade.”
Organic grain production is forecast to increase by double digits moving forward; however, to meet the demands of the organic animal protein industry, U.S. farmers will have to transition nearly 800,000 more acres from conventional to organically raised row crops.
To supplement shortages in organic grain stocks, in 2017, 54 percent of organic corn and 75 percent of organic soybeans were imported, primarily from Turkey, India, Argentina and Ukraine.
All imported organic corn and soybeans are used for animal feed, reports John Bobbe, executive director, Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM).
Because organic feedstuffs cost roughly twice as much as conventional commodities, high demand, limited supply and lackluster oversight at the ports has left the door open for opportunists fraudulently selling imported conventional grains as organic.
In 2016, several conventional grain shipments made their way from the Ukraine through Turkey and to American ports; however, somewhere along the line, the grain was deemed organic after the paperwork was doctored. In addition to contaminating the organic grain supply, the purveyors of the grain made millions of dollars more than had they remained traditional grains.
“Who would believe there is more money in organic commodity fraud than there is in the drug trade for as fast as you can make your money,” Bobbe said during a panel discussion at the 2018 MOSES Conference.