Field Farms Marketing Ltd.
The worldwide organic and non-genetically modified agricultural sector is growing exponentially, with demand for organically managed farmland increasing at a compounding rate of nearly nine per cent annually over the past decade, according to an article by John Paull in the Journal of Social and Development Sciences.
While organic agriculture still represents a small portion of total global agriculture, the market for organic products is growing and is strongest in North America and Europe, with about three to five per cent of the global market. In Canada and the U.S., more farmers are seeing the profitability of organic farming, with increased margins as a result of a decreased use (and purchase) of synthetic fertilizer and pesticides, and consumers paying higher premiums for the products.
Here in Canada, the market for organics is growing. No longer the domain of specialty stores, organic products are demanded by consumers and found in superstores such as Loblaws, Sobeys, and Bulk Barn, to name but a few retailers who stock organic and non-GMO products.
A leader in this emerging sector is Ontario-based Field Farms Marketing Ltd., which supplies the organic, non-GMO and specialty crop industry with prime food and feed grade products.
The company, founded by a husband and wife team, use their extensive experience in grain trading by collaborating with organic, non-GMO producers and buyers in Europe, North America, South America, India, China, the Middle East, and Japan. The company’s involvement in international markets provides an invaluable resource wherever business is done. All of Field Farms Marketing Ltd. organic products meet the highest organic standards in accordance with the NOP, JAS, COS/COR, BIO Suisse and/or EEC 834/07-889/08 regulations. Conventional non-GMO products are integrated, produced, and tested in industry-leading laboratories for absence of GMO.
Rita and Toni Felder came to Canada from Switzerland 15 years ago, when, through their work in agriculture, they realized the room for improvement in the organic markets and the need to connect the producer with the buyer. Their instinct was correct: Field Farms Marketing Ltd. has grown to produce “all kinds” of specialty products, certified organic, non-GMO, and conventional specialty grains such as buckwheat, lentil, and sesame seeds.
Canada is an ideal location for the work Field Farms Marketing Ltd. does, and is lauded for its clean air, sparkling waters, and the deep fertile soils that produce healthy roots and strong crops. The Great Lakes moderate the Canadian climate, providing the uniform temperature and rainfall that are essential for consistency and high crop yield – especially soybeans.
The Canadian Business Journal asked Rita what separates Field Farms Marketing Ltd. from a non-organic supplier. The answer is primarily regulation. “The organic market is highly regulated and is therefore a lot more demanding, with an estimated 40 per cent more regulatory work than the trade with conventional products.”
Field Farms Marketing Ltd. does extensive background checking, analysis, sample checking, and import permits to ensure the conformity with organic standards, regulations and its clients’ trust. “Our work is so specialized, and it has 100 per cent traceability from the field to the shelf,” she says.
“We at Field Farms Marketing Ltd. strive to exemplify professionalism and leadership in the specialty grain industry. We accomplish this by exceeding the expectations of the people we serve. This is achieved through diligent teamwork and attention to detail.”
Social impact of organic agriculture
Despite the economic success of Field Farms Marketing Ltd., revenue is not the only motivator for the Felders. Rather, an ambition to be part of a new way of looking at agriculture and the potential for its social benefits as well. A large component of organic or specialty crops market is Fair Trade, “and that is really what motivates us to grow,” says Rita. “We do a great deal of purchasing in developing countries and I see that as an enormous opportunity to positively impact those communities.”
As a family operation itself, Field Farms Marketing Ltd. strives to help other family farms when it can. “Organic and specialty grains are often grown on smaller, family farms, often time providing a reliable income in regions where there is less opportunity. That is a very good development we like to see and a strong motivator. In North America and Europe, the conversion to organic production on a farm allows a smaller size farmer to make a full-time living off the farm or add another generation because there is more labour and more revenue coming in.
“Fairness, honesty, innovation, and customer service are our guiding principles. These principles keep us at the cutting edge of a challenging industry,”
continues Felder. “Field Farms Marketing Ltd. anticipates growth in business internationally, while exceeding expectations and improving the quality of products through new seed varieties and innovative processing equipment.”