February 17, 2017 - U.S. Organic Acres Hit Record 4.1 Million in 2016

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Friday, February 17, 2017
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A recent report from Mercaris found acres farmed organically reached 4.1 million acres in 2016 - a new record and an 11 percent increase compared to 2014. As of June 2016, the number of certified organic farms in the U.S. reached 14,979, a 6.2 percent increase of 1,000 farms compared to 2014. Here are some other interesting items from the report.

  • The top five states in organic cropland are California, Montana, Wisconsin, New York, and North Dakota. California leads the U.S. with 688,000 acres; Montana has reached 417,000 acres in 2016, a 30 percent increase in organic farmland.

  • North Dakota, Colorado, and New York all increased their organic farming acres by more than 40,000 since 2014. North Dakota has surpassed Oregon as the fifth leading state in organic acreage. Oregon is sixth followed by Colorado and Texas.
  • Organic alfalfa/hay was the leading organic crop grown with more than 800,000 acres in 2016. This was followed by organic wheat, corn, and soybeans with 482,000, 292,000, and 150,000 acres respectively. Organic oats reached a record level of 109,000 acres in 2016.
  • The percentage of acres planted to organic crops such as wheat, corn, soybeans, and oats remains small compared to conventional crops in the U.S. Organic corn accounts for only 0.31 percent of total corn acres; organic wheat was 0.9 percent of total wheat acres; organic soybeans were 0.2 percent of total soybean acres. Organic oats account for the highest percentage of organic crop, with 3.6 percent of total oat acres.
  • The U.S. is importing large amounts of organic corn and soybeans, which is depressing the U.S. market and prices for both crops­–25 percent of organic corn and 75 percent of organic soybeans used in the US are imported.

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