Surge in prices for US organic soybeans on lower imports

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Craig Easton
© GettyImages/Craig Easton

Related tags: organic, Soybean

US prices for organic soybeans have reached record highs as imports of the raw materials have declined, reported Reuters this week.

Typically, the US relies on imports for about 70% of its organic soybeans.

But US imports of those feed and food ingredients decreased by 18% from September 2020 through August 2021 to about 240,585 tons, as per US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data. Shipments sank by 30% from Argentina, the biggest supplier to the US. Imports from India fell by 34%

Shortages of container ships used to import organic crops and logjams at US ports are some of the reasons behind the drop in imports.

And now US organic chicken producers are being forced to source crops produced in the US rather than abroad, reported Reuters.

However, US organic production has not increased enough to keep pace with growing demand. US farmers have been slower to switch to organic farming; in 2019, about 170,074 acres of organic soybeans were harvested in the US, a hike of 37% from 2016, according to the USDA. 

Food companies and feed users are negotiating to buy organic US soybeans at high prices from this year's autumn crop to last until next year's harvest.

Leading US poultry producer, Perdue Farms, is seeking to strengthen its domestic organic grain supply to prevent future price swings, a spokesperson told Reuters.

However, domestic supplies will remain limited, according to industry insiders.

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