The growing demand for non-GMO corn and soybeans is creating opportunities for farmers to profit, and some young farmers aim to capitalize on those opportunities.
Wants to build non-GMO soybean processing facility
Kade McBroom, a fourth generation farmer in Quilin, Missouri wants to build a non-GMO soybean processing plant in his area.
McBroom, who is 26, farms about 3200 acres with his father, growing rice, corn, soybeans, and a small amount of wheat. He has been growing non-GMO soybeans for the past seven years. He earns a premium selling them to Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Now he and several other farmers want to tap further into the fast-growing non-GMO market by building a facility to process value-added products such as non-GMO soybean meal for animal feed.
McBroom believes the ground is fertile for more non-GMO production in his area. He and several other farmers have been growing non-GMO soybeans for several years. “Farmers around here are proving that non-GMO soybeans can yield as well as GMO,” McBroom says.
Glyphosate is a “useless chemical” in southern Missouri
Another factor favoring non-GMO is that glyphosate, used with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMO soybeans, is being rendered ineffective by herbicide resistant weeds. “Glyphosate is a useless chemical. It will kill grass but not weeds,” McBroom says.
Still, McBroom says it can be difficult to convince farmers to grow non-GMO. “There is a myth in the farming community that non-GMO is old technology. It’s like talking to them about outdoor plumbing,” he says.
Non-GMO farmers also face logistical challenges. Some grain elevators will only take non-GMO soybeans at certain times. As a result, farmers must store soybeans on their farm. “This deters some farmers from growing non-GMO,” McBroom says.
Having a processing facility in his area would change that. “They could get a premium in their backyard, and we could attract the growers. They’ll stick to it,” McBroom says.
Their facility in southern Missouri’s Bootheel region would also be conveniently located near major cities including St. Louis, MO and Nashville and Memphis, TN.