Report makes recommendations for organic corn and wheat supply chain resilience

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Guelph, Ontario – June 19, 2024 – A report mapping the organic corn and wheat supply chains in Ontario was launched today by the Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) in partnership with the Organic Grain Hub. The report was one of three funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Supply Chain Stability and Adaptability program administered by the Agriculture Adaptation Council.  

“This is the first report of its kind” said Carolyn Young, OCO’s Executive Director.  “Without deep investigation like this, the organic sector lacks real data that we need to help the sector thrive.” 

The report found that amid growing global demand for organic products, specific organic value chains lack diversified channels and may be vulnerable to shifts in the marketplace.

“Most of the organic wheat grown in Ontario is for domestic use,” says Rob Wallbridge OCO board member and agronomy sales lead at SureSource Commodities, one of the industry experts consulted for the report. “But with bakeries and millers struggling, some high quality organic wheat is going to animal feed or to Quebec. About one-third of organic corn is exported to feed mills in New York and Pennsylvania. If the US becomes self-sufficient in organic grains, finds cheaper imports, or US organic meat consumption drops, Canadian suppliers will have limited options going forward.” 

Yet, despite the vulnerabilities identified, the report also leads with optimism. While only a tiny percentage of corn and wheat grown in Ontario is organic, revenues are not insignificant, contributing$38.5 million (corn) and $13.8 million (wheat) in farmgate sales.  The report does not assess the economic impact on jobs or the value added to primary ingredients by Ontario’s millers and feed processors.  

The report also reveals that consumer demand has not diminished. A trend that began during the pandemic is showing no sign of abating; consumers are now buying organic grains online and milling them at home. Farmer-to-baker connections are also helping farmers to increase their income streams by diversifying organic wheat production from soft to hard wheat and by growing heritage wheats to fill growing niche markets.

“This report shows us  that organic wheat and corn value chains are surprisingly simple. Yet, while this simplicity makes them vulnerable to market disruptions, it also means there are significant gains to be made through market and product diversification,” concludes Young.

Full access to the report can be found here.

For more information media may contact: 

Carolyn Young
Executive Director
Organic Council of Ontario
carolyn@organiccouncil.ca

About the Organic Council of Ontario
The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) is the Voice for Organics in Ontario. It is the only full value chain association operating at the provincial level. OCO represents over 1,300 certified organic operators, as well as the businesses, organizations and individuals that bring food from farm to plate. OCO works to incite sector growth, support research, improve training, increase data collection, encourage market development, protect the integrity of organic claims and inform the public of the benefits and requirements of organic agriculture. 

Comments are closed.