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Takeaways from the Organic and Non-GMO Forum 2018

Takeaways from the Organic and Non-GMO Forum

A couple members of the AgMaxx team recently traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to attend the Organic and Non-GMO Forum. They learned about opportunities, challenges, and advantages in the organic and non-GMO marketplace. Watch the video from Bill Cook, AgMaxx CEO, to hear what he took away from the forum.

Video Transcript

Good morning everyone. This is Bill Cook, and I’m reporting to you from some things that I thought were really exciting and really information when we went to the Non-GMO and Organic Forum in St. Louis about a week ago.

A lot of things are going on. Of course, the one thing that we are all trying to do here is help everyone make money, save money, and save time. We want you to take advantage of some really big opportunities we see coming down the line.

The transitional and the organic markets are so hot. All over this part of the world there is a big demand to get into the organic market and grow soybeans and corn and other specialty crops. One thing that came out of that organic show – we talked a lot about a lot of things, but one of the dominant things that happened at that show was how much the domestic market needs your product.

We are not even close to meeting the demand. We’re importing over 65% of the total number of the organic soybean meal. It’s coming out of India or some other country. We’re really hard-pressed to get an industry moving in that direction because the margins are so good. All of the products are coming out of other countries. Same thing on corn – not quite as great, but about 35% to 40% of all of the corn is imported that is being used in the organic market. It’s mainly used on chickens, turkeys, milk production, things like that. It’s all being imported.

So, we cannot meet that demand. Now, we do a research farm here. We’re doing nothing but trying to help our farmers get to a point where they make more ROI per acre. That’s one of the things that this forum talked a lot about.

Another thing that came out of the forum is the amount of fraud that is going on in the industry. The other thing that came out in this forum was the unfair advantages right now that we are seeing as U.S. farmers trying to get into organics.

We listened to some Canadians and to be certified they are sharing that it takes one year for them to be certified. It takes 36 months for us. So we see the US farmer is not quite dealing with a fair playing field when you talk around the world.

One thing on the fraud that came out is places like Turkey. Now I’m not saying Turkey has fraud, but they are shipping more organic – just organic – products into the United States than the whole country raises. So we are buying more products from Turkey that they are raising than their whole country can raise. So, it does make you look at things a little bit differently. It’s the same thing looking at some other countries that we are buying products from primarily for our chickens and turkeys and meals and things that the consumers are buying the most.

That’s a little bit of the excitement coming out of the forum. There were a lot of people there. Now you are going to start seeing the big boys sticking their heads in trying to figure out how to play the game. We have a lot of products within our organization and relationships that will help you lower your cost and drive your income up on the input side. We have devoted the whole of our research here at the research farm and around the Midwest.

We’ve got a new research guy – Renegade Research – he’s working with the universities to get third-party data. Everybody knows if you have data from the company that is selling the product sometimes people don’t really trust that data. I totally understand that. Our method here with all the research is we’re working with the universities to harvest and provide the data to us after we’ve done the applications and the planting of the product.

It’s pretty cool, that’s what we see out of that forum is people want to buy things that they trust. The other thing is the labeling laws. The labeling laws are really, really big. Everybody wants to see, track, and trace and they want to go back to your farm. They want to see “Joe Smith, 40 acres, produced this through a lot number and delivered it here.” When they look on that label – you’re seeing a lot of QR codes now. You can actually track the product back. You hit that QR code. Your lot number pops up, your face, and a little bit about your farm. US consumers really want to see that. They want to see and trust their food system.

So that’s another thing that came out of that St. Louis forum. It was a pretty exciting time. There were a lot of people there, a lot of encouragement. You’re seeing a lot of growth in the farm and rural communities. You’re seeing a lot of growth in organic producers. We’re seeing that locally. When I say locally I mean in the Missouri and Kansas area.

We’re here to help you figure out a way to make money, save money, and save time. Big ROI’s on organic, even in mediocre crops. We were selling soybeans for between $21 and $26 per bushel this year. $21 was the lowest we got. On the corn side I think it started out about $9.50 and migrated up to around $11 to $11.25 per bushel.

We’re seeing 130 bushel organic corns and somewhere in the 45 bushel range in organic soybeans. You can plug the numbers into that. You’re looking at up around $1,500 per acre gross on corn and somewhere around $1,000 on soybeans. As our numbers come in it looks like we’re about $550 an acre on corn and somewhere north of $300 on soybeans and that is counting labor and all of those costs that it takes to put in a crop. Inputs and so on and so forth.

Anyways, I hope this is helpful. Please take a good look at IP crops. IP meaning identity preserved crops. Transitional, non-GMO, chemical free, whatever you see that you want. We work with a lady by the name of Meghan Dixon. She runs a program – she can write an SOP and work with your company on SOP’s.

It’s really a good opportunity right now for growers that can make that move – and we’re not saying do it all at once. But make the move over into some organic or transitional production. There’s some really big profits there guys so please, don’t overlook this opportunity.

Thank you from our company to yours and I hope you have a good end of the year and get your harvest completed. We’re looking forward to a great 2019.