Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Thursday 03/20/14

USDA Highlights Organic Programs in Farm Bill

USDA reported Thursday that the department now has registered 18,513 domestic organic farms, an increase of 245% since 2002.

USDA also has certified more than 6,500 foreign farms as organic as well in 120 countries, bringing the total of organic farms marketing food or feedstuffs in the U.S. to more than 25,000.

California has the largest concentration of organic farmers, followed by New York, Washington state and Wisconsin. Last year, USDA certified another 763 farmers as organic producers. The number of farmers added to the certification rolls has actually slowed. About 2,000 total farmers have been added from 2008-2013. From 2005-2008, the number of certified organic farms doubled from just over 8,000 to just more than 16,000 producers.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that organic food is now a $35 billion industry just in retail sales. The Agricultural Act of 2014 also adds incentives to help, such a new incentive to help offset the cost of organic certification. Organic farmers also have more opportunities to buy crop insurance as well.

The farm bill also includes $20 million every year for organic research and extension programs, as well as $5 million to collect more data on organic operations.

USDA publishes a database of certified organic operations every year. That information can be found at http://apps.ams.usda.gov/…

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Posted at 2:42PM CDT 03/20/14 by Chris Clayton
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