By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 4/30/19 (Tue)
In recent months I’ve taken numerous calls and emails from people who want to purchase organic grain, oilseeds and legumes.
My business, North Star Farms, has a website in which we describe the organic vegetables we grow. Still, we get requests for large amounts of organic grain.
As an example, Cascadian Farms in
Upon checking with the latest national organic wheat market, food-grade, organic spring wheat is trading for $19.92 per bushel, vs. $4.82 per bushel for conventional, so 20,000 bushels would translate to $398,400 for organic and $96,400 for conventional.
On Monday, I received a call from
Twenty semi-loads of organic durum would bring in $327,800 for organic and $100,000 for conventional durum.
Less than a month ago, a call came in from
Now this one I can kind of understand. We grow and sell shell peas and snap peas so I can see how this individual may have gotten mixed up or may have read the website too quickly.
However, the latest price for yellow peas was $17 a bushel and $17.50 a bushel for green peas.
OK, so let’s assume I had a load of these products for my friend in
I received an email from the company representing brands like Wolfgang Puck, Safeway,
In fact, the email suggested they would be willing to pay up to $1 a pound for green lentils.
So let me get this straight – if I had organic green lentils, I could get $1 a pound and a truck load carries about 1,000 bushels and lentils weigh 60 pounds per bushel, that would indicate a payoff of $60,000. Conventional green lentils would fetch $12,300.
Soybeans, which have tanked since the trade war with
Another call from
Some of the prices these brokers are willing to pay are outrageous, but then if we think about it, there’s such a demand for organic grains, oilseeds and legumes, that you can just about name any price you like.
It’s been 20 years since I met Milo Buchholz, a
He appeared to be doing well financially and was happy with his operation with the only caveat that he had to get the grain to the mill.
There are approximately 196 organic farms in
These people understand the pressure of demand and how it is directly affecting their bottom line. They are paying the same amount of money for equipment, fuel, labor and maintenance, yet are sometimes earning up to 400 percent more than their conventional brethren.
One might argue that organic yields are lower. That’s true, but zero out chemical cost and fertilizer cost, then figure a 10-20, even 30 percent lesser yield. Surely a 300-400 percent premium would easily offset a 70 to 80 percentile in yield.
From 2002 to 2009, organic sales increased in the
This isn’t made up and it isn’t a promotion for the organic industry. It’s very real and because North Star Farms displays the NOP seal, we get these frequent requests. I just wish I had enough property to supply some of that demand.