USDA reports growth in US organic producers

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organic vegetable sign
(USDA photo)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says there has been a significant increase in the number of certified organic operations. According to new data released April 4, there are now 21,781 certified organic operations in the United States and 31,160 around the world.

According to data released by the USDA’s National Organic Program, the number of domestic certified organic operations increased by almost 12 percent between 2014 and 2015, representing the highest growth rate since 2008 and an increase of nearly 300 percent since the count began in 2002.

The total retail market for organic products is now valued at more than $39 billion in the United States and over $75 billion worldwide.

Local food link

Along with consumer demand for organics, increasingly they are asking for local foods. Industry data estimates that U.S. local food sales totaled at least $12 billion in 2014, up from $5 billion in 2008.

Help for producers

USDA has also established a number of resources to help organic producers. The site www.usda.gov/organic creates a one-stop-shop for operators, and USDA has made market and pricing information for approximately 250 organic products available through USDA’s Market News.

In 2015, USDA made more than $11.5 million available to assist organic operations with their certification costs.

The data are publicly available as part of the recently launched Organic Integrity Database.

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