US organics farms up 13%

21 Sep 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has released the results of the 2015 Certified Organic Survey, which show that organic farms sales were up 13% from $5.5 billion in 2014.

US organics farms up 13%

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has released the results of the 2015 Certified Organic Survey, which show that 12,818 certified organic farms in the United States sold a total of $6.2 billion in organic products in 2015, up 13% from $5.5 billion in 2014. California and Wisconsin had the largest number of certified organic farms with 2,637 and 1,205 respectively.

The top 10 states in terms of sales accounted for 78% of total U.S. certified organic sales in 2014 and in 2015, showing continued national leadership by California with $2.4 billion, up $205 million since 2014. Additionally, the industry shows potential for growth in production as existing organic producers are transitioning another 151,000 acres nationally to organic production.

“In the 2015 Certified Organic Survey, producers reported that they expect to expand U.S. organic production in the coming years, making the data even more important for policy and programs. These results will assist with the development of appropriate risk management programs designed to help organic producers,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “The report also shows that organic producers are marketing their products through similar avenues in 2015 as in 2014, largely within their region, and that the value of sales increased during that time for many products.”

The selection of certified organic products sold by U.S. farms in 2015 was diverse, from dairy and meats, to fruits, vegetables and grains. The value of sales from livestock and poultry products led the way ($1.9 billion) followed by vegetables ($1.4 billion); fruits, tree nuts, and berries ($1.2 billion); livestock and poultry ($743 million), and field crops ($660 million). The top five commodities in certified organic sales were:

+ Milk, $1.2 billion, up 8.4% from $1.1 billion in 2014.

+ Eggs, $732 million, up 74.5% from $420 million in 2014.

+ Broiler chickens, $420 million, up 13.1% from $371 million in 2014.

+ Apples, $302 million, up 20% from $251 million in 2014.

+ Lettuce, $262 million, down less than 1% from $264 million in 2014.

The vast majority of certified organic agricultural products sold in 2015 were sold close to the farm or ranch, with many growers having multiple outlets. The first point of sale for 75% of all U.S. organic farms and ranches was within 100 miles from the farm and 35% was 100-499 miles away, virtually unchanged since 2014.

Additionally, 71% of U.S. certified organic farms and ranches reported selling products to wholesale markets. Wholesale markets, such as buyers for supermarkets, processors, distributors, packers and cooperatives, were serving as the marketing channel of choice for U.S. organic farmers and ranchers to get their products to customers. Thirty-six% sold directly to consumers and 22% sold directly to retail markets and institutions.

“The 2015 Certified Organic Survey data will serve as a valuable resource as the agriculture industry continues to look for ways to meet agricultural challenges and consumer needs in the 21st century,” said Hamer.