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Grain, Pulse, and Oilseed Council Annual Report

The Organic Trade Association (OTA)’s Grain, Pulse, and Oilseed Council is made up of member companies with a role in the organic grain, pulse, and/or oilseed space that cover the entire supply chain from growers to processors to manufacturers. Council members committed to ensuring the resilience and profitability of organic grain, pulse, and oilseed production in the United States.

The Council was first established in 2015 in response to concerns about organic grain shortages, both for food and animal feed, which had forced companies to import large amounts of organic grain and limited new product development. Within the Council, members work together to identify and overcome barriers to the growth of domestic organic grain acreage by understanding key challenges and providing recommendations for pre-competitive supply chain solutions.


GRAINS COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS IN 2020

The Grains Council faced their challenges stemming from COVID-19 pandemic through seamless collaboration. To directly address the challenges industry faced, the Council hosted regular roundtable discussions on the impacts, pivots, and opportunities within the grains sector. They also moved forward on key initiatives from their 2020 work plan.

GRAINS COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS IN 2020
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Actively Engaging in Organic Fraud Prevention Awareness and Learning

Members of the Grains Council collectively committed to increasing awareness and encouraging enrolment in the Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions Program. Nearly 100% of eligible council members pre-enrolled in the program prior to program launch and about 50% of member are now officially enrolled and are working their way through the program steps. Council member Pipeline Foods was the first company to complete the program! You can learn more about their experience in this press release.

Concurrently, the Council created space for shared learning within the Council and the creation of additional resources to help companies pilot the program with their suppliers as it relates to fraud prevention. To accomplish these goal, the Council had presentations given by staff experts, shared their learning from Council members who have taken trainings, and provided direct feedback to OTA staff to improve training content.

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Leadership for Improved Organic Technical Assistance

Members contributed to the successful first year of the Organic Agronomy Training Service (OATS) Pilot Program through project management or startup fundraising. The Council was also instrumental in advocating for OATS to be included in the first-year portfolio of technical assistance projects supported by the GRO Organic research, promotion, and education program.

All council members were invited to participate in OATS strategic planning process. Members completed a survey conducted over winter of 2019-2020. These responses were used by OATS steering Committee inform OATS three-year strategic plan.

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Identifying Research Priorities for Resilient and Profitable Organic Production

The Council identified research areas that are most important for supporting resilient and profitable organic grain, pulse, and oilseed production in the United States. Based on survey results, the Top Ten research priorities include range of topics from improving seed breeding for organic systems, to measuring and improving nutrient density of food and feed. The Council is continued to refine and develop the Top Ten List in a public-facing publication to increase awareness about industry’s research needs.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2021
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Preventing Fraud

Members will continue to improve understanding and knowledge for preventing fraud in the supply chain. They will continue to do so by further engagement and participation in the Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program and information sharing with staff experts as information is relevant.

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Roundtable Discussions

Given the impact of COVID-19 in the grains, oilseed, and pulse supply chain, they also anticipate regular Roundtable Discussions on the impacts, pivots, and opportunities within the sector. Opportunities for information sharing between staff and industry will continue to improve the advocacy that the Organic Trade Association can pursue in 2021 for members in this sector.

Roundtable Discussions
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Research Priorities

The Council plans to publish their top ten research priorities through an outward facing document that would achieve several goals, including to increase awareness among industry, public, and researchers about industry’s research needs; to highlight what council member companies are already doing in these research areas; and to create opportunities for collaboration and an invitation for funders/researchers to contact us for more information.

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JOIN OUR COUNCIL MEMBERS
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CURRENT MEMBERS

AgriSecure, Albert Lea Seed House, Ardent Mills LLC, Bay State Milling Company, Clarkson Grain Company, Inc, Clif Bar & Company, General Mills, Grain Millers, Inc., Kashi Company, King Arthur Flour Co., Inc., Mercaris Corporation, Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, Perdue Agribusiness, Inc., Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs, Pilgrim's Pride, Pipeline Foods, PURIS, Scoular, Stonyfield Farm, Inc., Sunrise Foods International Inc., Vilicus Farms

COUNCIL OFFICERS

The Organic Trade Association’s Grains, Oilseed, and Pulse Council is chaired by Shrene White of Ardent Mills. Edward Fish of Bay State Milling Company serves as Vice Chair. The Grains Council is supported by OTA’s Farm Policy Director Johanna Mirenda.

PARTICIPATE

Working collaboratively, Grains Council members work together to identify and overcome barriers to the growth of domestic organic grain acreage by understanding key challenges and providing recommendations for pre-competitive supply chain solutions. Interested in joining the work of the Council? Contact OTA’s Farm Policy Director Johanna Mirenda.