Today Whole Foods reported Q3 earnings while Amazon is meeting with a dozen U.S. ranchers, seeking to expand distribution of organic and grass-fed meats as it takes over Whole Foods. Amazon has the logistics to scale up the Whole Foods commitment, which only means a greater push to non-GMO.  The topic of organic/non-GMO/grass-fed/sustainability is hitting every food producer between the eyes.
Agweb published an article today titled, “Driven by Dollars to Non-GMO Seed”. They reported on the financial struggles and glaring expense of the biotech seed. With focus on one farmer, Nathan Reed, the move to non-GMO production in cotton, corn, and soybeans was a financial decision. The article nicely breaks down the balance sheet and concludes that Reed saves $80 per acre with non-GMO cotton and in 2016 planted his entire soybean crop (1,200 acres) in non-GMO production.
Agweb reported that non-GMO food industry is worth $300 billion in the U.S. and Canada with global markets worth more than $700 billion. Estimated growth for the industry is 15% annually, putting this market at a value of $1.5 trillion in the next five years., according to Kelly Cartwright at the National Soybean & Grain Alliance (NSGA).
With premiums on non-GMO crops, increased demand by consumers for non_GMO, and Amazon’s goal to mass distribute healthier options globally, when will we see more non-GMO acres planted than GMO in the U.S?
Imports of organic grains, particularly corn, surged in 2016 to meet the U.S. demand for organic food products. In soybeans, 80% of soybeans supplying the U.S. organic market was imported in 2016. To meet the demand for organic animal feed, analysts estimate between one and five million U.S. acres need to be transitioned to organic or non-GMO production. Imports of organic produce are some farmers biggest concerns with Amazon’s plans.
Will Amazon’s push for two hour grocery delivery of organic goods be the push toward more non-GMO farming?