Record organic soy prices lead to food inflation

U.S. imports of organic soybeans fell by 18% over the last year according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Currently, the U.S. is the number two soybean grower worldwide, with 70% of the produce imported back to the states. Meanwhile, chicken farmers who use soybeans for feed are paying higher prices due to the shortage.

In addition, Argentina, the number two exporter of soybeans to the states saw an even greater decrease. Shipments fell by 30%. As a result, the price for soybeans rose to a seven-year high. According to commodity data firm Mercaris, soybeans now cost $33 per bushel. The previous record was $25 per bushel in 2014-2015.

Bell & Evans owner Scott Sechler called it a “madhouse” in an interview with Reuters. His 127-year strong company feeds 500,000 to 600,000 chickens every week.

“There’s not enough in America to replace all the imported organic grain,” Sechler told Reuters. Therefore, the price of chicken is bound to increase to make up for the increase in feed.

In the meantime, total U.S. organic acreage is growing faster than ever at 6%. Mercaris has predicted that there will be a record 9 million acres of organic produce by the end of the year. Altogether, there are nearly 20,000 certified organic farms.

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According to the Organic Trade Association, last year, U.S. sales of organic food increased 12.8% to $56.5 billion, compared with a 4.6% increase in 2019. Then, in 2020, organic foods accounted for 5.8% of food sales.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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