This year we have needed to import buckwheat due to several bad seasons of dry weather followed by excessive rains here in Australia – extremes of anything are bad for farming.
The buckwheat we have imported from the USA is grown all through the mid-west – it comes from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Colorado. It is certified organic through the USDA organic system.
Most of the buckwheat farmers only plant and supply organic buckwheat to the processor from whom we buy it.
The processing mill is highly specialised in their milling, as they handle only Buckwheat, Mustard, and Safflower. They process both conventional and organic crops, which means that each time they process an organic crop they must have a full clean down of the mill to prevent any cross-contamination.
Most of the growers choose to grow organic because of the price premium they receive for the crop. It always involves more work to manage organic crops, however in a commodity market where conventional crop prices can fluctuate dramatically many farmers find that it’s worth it.
A representative of the US Processor tours the majority of their contracted crops each year. He is currently touring for the 2021 crop production, and he took the photos when he visited one of the farmers in North Dakota.