January 17, 2019

Organic farming growing

Pew Research - There were more than 14,000 certified organic farms in the United States in 2016, according to the latest available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This represents a 56% increase from 2011, the earliest comparable year. And while California remains king when it comes to the number of organic farms, several other states saw dramatic growth in organic farming over this time, particularly in the South.

As the number of organic farms has increased, so too have sales of certified organic products: U.S. farms and ranches sold nearly $7.6 billion in certified organic goods in 2016, more than double the $3.5 billion in sales in 2011.

Still, organic farming makes up a small share of U.S. farmland overall. There were 5 million certified organic acres of farmland in 2016, representing less than 1% of the 911 million acres of total farmland nationwide. Some states, however, had relatively large shares of organic farmland. Vermont’s 134,000 certified organic acres accounted for 11% of its total 1.25 million farm acres. California, Maine and New York followed in largest shares of organic acreage – in each, certified organic acres made up 4% of total farmland.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One thing missed in these "organics" numbers is that since the USDA got its hands on "organics" the price of certification has gone up, while what's allowed has increased to make it easier for large operations. The USDA certification costs have become unaffordable for small farmers, so many small farmers are instead improving how they do things and developing relationships with customers who understand that organic certification is only a minimal best practice. For example, I buy my milk at a regional grocery chain from a local farmer whose practices are more ecological and humane then anything a USDA organic certification requires. They do not have organic certification, but I can go out to the farm, about 30 miles out of town, to see their practices and meet the cows if I have any concerns. Farmers markets are full of these small better then organic farmers selling their produce. The official organic numbers are useful in seeing trends, but they don't tell half the story.