Organic Quality Concerns Crop Up, Impact Price Levels

 By Mike Schulist

Organic grain marketing opportunities for the fall of 2019 do exist. The next question: What about the 2019 crop itself?

Many unanswered questions arise about the 2019 organic grain crop, including some quality questions with the harvest of small grains. Test weights were much lighter than average, and protein levels in wheat were much lower in spotty areas of the Midwest, as well. Not to mention molds and vomitoxin levels are coming in at unacceptable levels for the food-grade market.

Will these same issues carry into the corn and soybean harvest? Time will tell.

As crop challenges faced producers throughout the year, the organic grain market has had continued pricing challenges. It could be a tough marketing season with all the quality concerns because of all the moisture we’ve had, and the possibility that as of early October, that moisture was still coming. With the uncertainty of new-crop corn and soybeans, downward pressure on all organic grain prices has become quite common.

Negative factors of large carryover supply of both corn and soybeans are driving weaker price offerings, imported organic grain at both East Coast and West Coast ports and other trade concerns. These, too, are causing uncertainty and softness in the market. Fortunately, NForganics’ grain marketing strengths remain in attaining a fair price and timely payment to you.

Market discovery

Much of my role at National Farmers NForganics consists of market discovery, finding and achieving a fair, profitable price and the buyer who can deliver that for the producers who I serve. Weekly, new commodity buyers reach out to me to purchase certified organic grain, which is great. It shows NForganics is viewed as a reliable supplier.

But keep reading. In looking out for the best interests of our producers, we require a credit check for every new buyer. It’s interesting, because sometimes credit checks have scared off some of these buyers. That shows not every entity that claims to possess the financial wherewithal to be a solvent buyer actually is.

What would happen if you ran into this situation as a producer trying to market your valuable certified organic grain without representation from a marketer like NForganics? Many farmers don’t have the time and patience needed for market discovery. Farmers don’t have to produce more for less, and it’s important to put price – and security – ahead of production.

Further, that old idea of placing production ahead of price is outdated. With the use of forward contracting and on-farm storage, we need to remind ourselves to place price ahead of production.

A lot of talk gets repeated about getting big to survive in today’s agricultural markets. NForganics is a way to make the best of difficult market situations, niche production and remain a small operation.

Look for NForganics at National Farmers’ upcoming national convention in Bloomington, Minnesota, Feb. 10-12, and at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service conference, Iowa Organic Conference, Minnesota Organic Conference and National Farmers’ state conventions.

We wish everyone a safe and bountiful harvest.