Farming News - US organic figures show rapid growth

US organic figures show rapid growth

05 Apr 2016

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report has revealed record growth in the number of organic producers in the United States. According to new data, there are now 21,781 certified organic operations in the United States - more than 2/3 of all certified operations worldwide.

"Organic food is one of the fastest growing segments of American agriculture," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "As consumer demand for organic products continues to grow, the USDA organic seal has become a leading global standard. The increasing number of organic operations shows that USDA's strong support for the vibrant organic sector is helping to create jobs and opportunities in rural communities.”

According to data released by the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP), the number of domestic certified organic operations increased by almost 12 percent between 2014 and 2015, representing the highest growth rate since 2008 (when the UK sector entered a period of contraction that, though sales have since recovered, it has yet to properly turn round). The number of organic operations in the States have increase by almost 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. Consumers in the U.S. are increasingly demanding organic and local foods, which have been supported by government grants totalling over $1bn since 2009.

The data were released as part of the Organic Integrity Database, a modernised system for tracking certified organic operations which was introduced as part of the 2014 Farm Bill to give a more up-to-date picture of the sector than previous yearly reports allowed.

Commenting on the figures on Tuesday, Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association, said, “This latest market report confirms that it continues to be a very positive time for organic food and farming. The USA is the world’s largest organic market, helped by strong government leadership including encouragement from Michelle Obama.  The continued growth of organic in the US is mirrored in other leading organic countries from China to Germany. Meanwhile in the UK, the organic market is in steady growth and is set to break the £2 billion mark this year.”