By Connor Lynch
CARDINAL — Ingredion is bumping up the premium for its non-genetically modified (GMO) corn program next year.
A premium paid to growers is going up for the 2019 crop, from $25 per metric tonne to $35, according to Ingredion’s non-GMO buyer for Canada, Tom Lynch. The company launched a pilot project in 2015 for its Cardinal location, along the St. Lawrence River, to actively source non-GMO corn. Before then, the company would accept non-GMO corn but wasn’t actively looking for it.
The program has “grown in both volume, and the number of growers we’re working with,” but Lynch wouldn’t said how much either had grown since 2015.
The program is fairly rigourous. Prospective growers can only grow non-GMO corn on a field that didn’t grow GMO corn the year before. In addition, farmers can only grow non-GMO in a given field, and that field has to be at least 600 feet from any GMO corn field.
Farmers are free to manage the crop and soil as they see fit. Regulations kick back in for harvest however. Not only do farmers have to clean all their equipment before harvest, they have to document it and send it to Ingredion.
Once the crop is out of the ground, farmers have to have their own storage and dryers, although Ingredion does have an arrangement with Triple J Farms in Winchester to store for them.
Shipping the corn is the farm’s responsibility. There also needs to be a record that the truck was cleaned, as well as a delivery slip included that says what bin the corn came from and a sample from the bin for Ingredion to test. Ingredion will also test each truckload that comes to it.
The time frame when farmers can ship corn is also limited. Ingredion only does select grinds for non-GMO corn, and only sources the corn when it needs it.
Independent agronomist Bryan Cook said that the program would likely net farmers an extra $110 per acre. That’s taking into account both the premium paid for the corn, and the costs associated with growing, managing, and shipping it. Non-GMO corn has the same yield potential as GMO corn, said Cook. But some farmers might need the protective traits of the GMO corn to protect their yield in a particular field.
Farmers interested in the program can get in touch with Tom Lynch at 613-657-3131, ext. 122, or send him an email at Tom.firstname.lastname@example.org.