Mitsui buys half of non-GMO U.S. grain, soybean handler

(Keith Weller photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Reuters — The U.S. arm of Japanese commodities trader Mitsui has bought a 50 per cent stake in Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, a grain handler and breeder of non-genetically modified soybeans, the companies said Monday.

The deal, which closed on Friday, is valued at about US$15 million including debt, said Bluegrass owner and CEO David Martin (all figures US$).

The companies are aiming to capitalize on growing global demand for food made from non-GMO grains, including products such as tofu and baby food.

Mitsui currently handles about 40 per cent of products shipped from Bluegrass.

“We’re going to grow this business. We’ve been in alignment for 10 years and now we’re taking it to the next step. We’re going to do additional Asian business and U.S. domestic business,” Martin said. He declined to provide further details.

Bluegrass Farms relies on contract growers to produce soybeans from seed varieties it has developed.

It buys, cleans and bags the food-grade oilseeds and loads them in shipping containers bound for markets in the U.S. and Asia. Bluegrass also handles non-GMO corn.

Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume in Chicago.

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