NE MO farmers say local bean market requires European Union standards

Farmers in northeast Missouri are concerned they might have to follow the European Union’s production standards if they want to market their soybeans locally this year.

Drew Lock from Adair County in northeast Missouri says Archer Daniels Midland has held several meetings in recent weeks to notify farmers nearby elevators will only take soybeans at harvest enrolled in the company’s new re:source program.

“It’s a deforestation program ADM is trying to enact from the EU.”

Lock says the program would go into effect for the upcoming harvest season and ADM is offering a financial incentive to enroll.

“Tentatively, they were telling us there was an extra 20 cents per bushel incentive to enter the program.”

But Lock says it’s not easy to participate in the program: farmers must report their field boundaries to the Farmer Business Network, a third-party company working with ADM, to determine if there’s been recent deforestation on any fields in recent years.

“I believe it was 1.24 acres per field boundary,” says Lock.

If recent deforestation exceeds the standard for the cropland, Lock says farmers can’t participate in the program and local farmers were told they must deliver soybeans to another elevator. Lock says ADM owns several grain elevators in northeast Missouri and others don’t have the capacity to hold much extra grain and are a long haul away at harvest. He says there are consequences if farmers don’t follow rules when enrolled in ADM’s program.

Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins says questions are being asked about the program’s market impacts and data privacy.

“It ultimately leads back to the EU and what may be happening that could be a non-tariff trade barrier as they look at essentially the exporting of their own climate agenda.”

Missouri Farm Bureau met with Doug McKalip at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington D.C. last week to discuss the issue.

“Clearly, this issue is on his radar and his team’s radar. They’re having thorough conversations with their colleagues at the EU in digging into this.”

An ADM spokesperson tells Brownfield the company is committed to maximizing market value for all farmers, including Missouri farmers, and creating new voluntary opportunities as they emerge, the re:source program is just one of their programs. They say the EU Deforestation Regulation requires a fully traceable and segregated supply chain, or risk of losing access to the Europe market and penalties.

Based on ADM’s relationships with farmers in the U.S. and crushing assets in Europe, ADM says they developed a voluntary program intended to help U.S. farmers maintain access to the European market. For farmers who choose to participate, a premium will be offered for delivery at select locations throughout the Midwest. Missouri factors into ADM’s plans.

ADM says based on outreach to Missouri farmers to date, including in-person meetings, a large majority of farmers present in those meetings indicated they are interested and willing to participate. Farmers are under no obligation to participate, and ADM will work with farmers who choose not to enroll.

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