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Questions of Fraud Remain in U.S. Organic Grain Supply

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Outlook Forum announced last month that between 2014 and 2016 U.S. organic corn production increased by 12.9 percent and U.S. organic soybean production increased by 12.3 percent.

However, despite this growth, and despite the U.S. being top global producer of organic corn and soybeans, U.S. imports of organic soybeans jumped by 13 percent, and U.S. imports of organic corn increased by 5.9 percent in 2017. Adding further suspicion, industry insiders have noted that volumes of organic grain being shipped to the U.S. often exceed the possible production volumes of their country of origin.

Last year an investigation by the Washington Post revealed an unsettling level of fraud in the organic grain space, and these findings by the USDA echo those conclusions, leading the department to aggressively address the issue. However, as trade gaps and loopholes are addressed, the department stresses that the market situation presents a window of opportunity for U.S. organic grain growers.

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