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Only 1 percent of US farmland is certified organic. Why aren’t more farmers making the switch?

| | March 2, 2017

There are two stories to tell about the state of organic agriculture in the US. The first is a success story, the inspirational tale of a fringe industry that—in less than two decades—has transformed into a $43-billion-dollar powerhouse.

But there’s another story here, too. And to tell that one, you only need a single stat:

Less than 1 percent of all U.S. farmland is certified organic.

The 1 percent figure isn’t due to sluggish demand. Quite the opposite: consumers want more organic food than domestic farmers can currently supply, which forces retailers, feed companies, and packaged food manufacturers to bridge the gap with organic imports from other countries. … In 2016, 50 percent of our organic corn and 80 percent of our organic soy had to be imported from countries…

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If demand is so great, why don’t more farmers switch over? What’s keeping organic’s market share at that anemic 1 percent?

The answer’s pretty simple: three long years.

Conventional farmers can’t just drop everything and go organic. According to the way the USDA standard is written, conventional farmers must use organic methods for three years before they can call their crops organic.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: While demand soars, less than 1 percent of U.S. farmland is certified organic. So why don’t farmers switch?

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

6 thoughts on “Only 1 percent of US farmland is certified organic. Why aren’t more farmers making the switch?”

  1. I started organic, but never got certified. Too many reporting and recording requirements. No chance I wold ever deal with that even if the marketing was honest.

    • Eric, I applaud your individual effort to be an organic farmer. It is too bad that you find these reporting systems to be tedious. But don’t you see them to be necessary to get organic farms to become standardized, accountable, and the new norm? However, if the certification process is hindering farmers from becoming organic, or even registering their already organic farm, then that’s not heading in the right direction either. How do we hit that sweet spot of encouraging organic farms and making it certification simple?

      • There is no sweet spot, there is no reason to farm organically other than the underserved higher prices. I was referring to my original reason. I have learned much since then. I now use the best techniques that fit my circumstances regardless and no longer tie one hand behind my back by trying to adhere to organic standards that make no sense. Like the ban on GE seeds or most synthetics.

  2. Data from 2013. Typical misleading nonsense. But I don’t blame you folks as you’re trying to protect your multi-billion dollar industry. Over the last 3-4 years, Organic farming has exploded. Just from 2014-2015, the land allocated for organics has jumped 20% according to the USDA’s most recent organic survey. More and more grocery stores are carrying and demanding organics from more and more of their suppliers. As awareness of the poison that is being fed to the American people by industrial farming and so called chemical comings disguising themselves as a AG company, more and more people will get on board. Besides the tons of man-made chemicals allowed on non-organics, I don’t like sewage sludge being used to grow my foods. According to Cornell University, the majority of US sewage sludges are sprayed on US lands including farm lands.

    • Poison? Now that is misleading. Especially as all those baby boomers grew up during an era when the pesticides were more risky than they are now. Organic will run out of both inputs to expand acreage and naïve folks that buy into the nonsense marketing. Man-made? No, it is the specific chemical that is either high or low risk. Not how it got here. Quit spreading fallacies.

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