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Organic Grain Imports Under Investigation

beans crowingThe demand for organic food is increasing every year. There are some consumers that are willing to pay a premium for food produced in a certain way. I am a conventional farmer and I have no experience being an organic farmer. However, I have done many interviews with organic farmers and organic organizations. So, I have learned a little bit about what is required to be an organic farmer.

To be an organic farmer there is a certification and inspection process. The organic industry and USDA put together standards that must be met to be a certified organic farmer. Do these standards and procedures also apply to “organic” grain imported into the United States? You would think they would, but just because imported grain is labeled organic is it?

The Cornucopia Institute is an aggressive organic industry watchdog that is calling on USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to investigate “massive” imports of corn and soybeans labeled organic from China and Eastern Europe that were not organic. This is in response to an investigation by the Washington Post documenting fraudulent organic grains entering the United States.

If I were an organic farmer, I would not be happy about this if it is true. If I was producing corn and soybeans in a certain way and expecting to get paid a premium, why should another farmer get paid a premium without following the standards? Wouldn’t this almost be like theft or stealing? I would think the USDA would investigate this to make sure if a label says organic it is organic.


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