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Organic corn, soybean production faces sharp decline

U.S. expected to lean on imports to meet 2020 demand.

Spring weather took a toll on U.S. organic commodity producers, according to a new report from Mercaris, the nation’s leading data and trading platform for organic and non-genetically modified organism markets.

The fall 2019 Mercaris "Organic Commodities Outlook" predicts a sharp year-over-year decline of 12% in organic corn production and a decline of 14% in organic soybean production due to challenges during spring planting.

“Despite overall industry growth remaining positive this year, the production outlook for many key organic crops is expected to be down for 2019-20 following challenging growing conditions,” Mercaris director of economics Ryan Koory said.

In the Corn Belt, Mercaris estimates that organic wheat production will see a 19% decline. However, overall U.S. organic wheat production is predicted to increase 7% over 2018 thanks to gains in areas outside of the Corn Belt, namely the High Plains and West regions.

“The industry appears set to see imports escalate over the coming year as organic grain purchasers look to offset reduced domestic production,” Koory said.

Organic livestock production growth is expected to slow but will still see a 1% increase overall. Because of that, imports should bridge the gap between domestic organic feed demand and U.S. production in 2019.

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