economicsJay Leslie

Organic Grain Marketing 101: Part 2 - Rejection Risk

economicsJay Leslie
Organic Grain Marketing 101: Part 2 - Rejection Risk

Lots of growers have been through the unpleasant experience of having a load of grain rejected on delivery. Generally the cause is something in the environment that couldn’t be controlled.

Gathering a representative sample can help a lot, but it is far from a perfect science. Despite best efforts and new monitoring technology, there will always be the potential for the quality of stored grain to vary as it is loaded out. When a load doesn’t meet the pre-agreed specifications on the contract, buyers can and do reject loads, leaving the farmer to accept unexpected discounts or lots of work to find an alternative market and a decent price.

As with many aspects of marketing organic grain, the financial implications of loads being rejected is far more severe than for conventional grain. First, the value of the shipment is 2-3 times higher. Second, the alternative market is going to be a lot further away than the nearest elevator. Third, not only does organic grain need to meet specific quality parameters around oil content, protein, falling number and test weight, it sometimes also needs to meet food quality standards for microbial activity and pesticide residues.

Rejection of organic grain shipments upon arrival in the European market is on the rise, due to import regulations limiting glyphosate residue. Ending up having to find a conventional buyer for grain produced organically, after it’s already made the journey overseas, into an unfamiliar marketplace, is about as bad as it gets in marketing. Savvy growers get their own residue tests done before their grain leaves the farm, but even in those cases, it’s possible that residues show up in samples taken along the way or at unload.

Such is the nature of glyphosate and many other pesticides that have been accumulating in Prairie farm communities for decades. It can be carried in the soil for years, it drifts across from the neighbours, it remains in the crooks and crannies of trucks and containers and contaminates organic grain in transport. Pesticides can be found in the livers of polar bears in the Artic; of course it is showing up from time to time in grain produced without it. The incidence and risk of organically-produced grain getting rejected and downgraded to conventional appears to be on the rise.

Jay Leslie was born and raised in the central prairie city of Portage La Prairie. Growing up in the prairies with small-town values helped shape his character into the person he is today. Described as a creative leader, with an extroverted personality, Jay has never been one to shy away from challenge or adventure. After graduating as class valedictorian from Arthur Meighen High School, he went on to study advertising, design and communications at Red River College; graduating in 2006 with a post-diploma in Advanced Graphic Design. After school, Jay cut his teeth working in a small design boutique in Winnipeg’s St. Boniface neighborhood, and gained valuable experience in design and project management. In the winter of 2007, he landed a design position with a world-class company, National Leasing. A position which has allowed him to develop an extremely well-rounded skill set in not only design, but also business and marketing management. Through years of growth and hands-on experience, Jay grew to become Marketing Manager; specializing in business-to-business marketing, targeting multiple industries across Canada. He continues to build his career while also maintaining a design consultancy. A proud Winnipeger, Jay Leslie resides in the heart of Osborne Village with his girlfriend and their rabbit, Buns. In the spare time Jay has, he lives to snowboard, loves to golf, and makes time to stay active. Above all Jay values family and friendship, and gains a sense of pride from the outstanding people in his community.