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Source: Mercaris news release

Silver Spring, MD - U.S. organic soybean supplies have emerged as a significant market concern during the first quarter of 2021, according to Mercaris' Monthly Market Update released today. The 2020/21 MY started strong out of the gate with a strong harvest domestically and significant growth from imports. However, soybean supplies have been faced with a lot of uncertainty in 2021, a situation Mercaris recognizes is still playing out.

"The organic soybean market started the marketing year with what looked like a robust supply position when you consider harvest and import numbers," says Ryan Koory, Director of Economics for Mercaris. "A number of factors have rapidly emerged this year, creating a lot of uncertainty and challenges around U.S. organic soybean supplies." Koory indicted that the USDA National Organics Program's (NOP) decision to end its recognition agreement with India's Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the global logistical issues brought by the pandemic, and APEDA's own crackdown on organic fraud have all added to market uncertainty.

Many organic soybean purchasers have reported struggling to secure spot deliveries since NOP's announcement in January. Yet, overall U.S. organic soy supplies are relatively strong. Imports reached 4.8 million bushels from January to March 2021, bringing marketing year-to-date supplies to 24.9 million bushels, up 17 percent year over year.

U.S. organic soy imports slowed over the same time frame, down 7 percent year over year. Whole organic soybeans led to that decrease, with fewer imports from Argentina and Russia and total whole organic soybean imports down 51 percent year over year. Organic soybean meal, on the other hand, was up 25 percent in the same period, adding yet another variable for consideration.

Koory added that the data and markets appear to be at odds at this point.

"Through multiple sources, Mercaris has anecdotally verified that the U.S. organic soybean market experienced significant and unexpected short supplies over the first quarter of 2021," said Koory. "Yet, the numbers show that U.S. organic soybean supplies are not fundamentally tight. While there could be a number of challenges in the coming months, U.S. organic soy supplies they appear to be well positioned at the start of the second quarter."

Mercaris' full monthly report, which covers the data on organic soybeans, as well as organic and non-GMO markets for corn, oats, broilers, eggs and milk is available at

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