Despite record growth, there’s still too little organic food
by Editor (comments: 0)
According to new data released this week by the Department of Agriculture, the number of certified organic farms and operations in the United States surged by almost 12 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Environmental Working Group. There are now 21,781 certified organic operations in the country – an increase of nearly 300 percent since USDA began tallying them in 2002. The total U.S. retail market for organic products is valued at $39 billion, and according to the Organic Trade Association, sales of organic food account for nearly 5 percent of total food sales nationwide.
Recognizing the need to bolster one of the fastest growing segments of American agriculture, Congress expanded support for many valuable organic programs in the 2014 farm bill. Thanks to a doubling of funds for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program, USDA made available more than $11.5 million in 2015 to defray some of the costs associated with organic certification. Congress also continued to support organic farming through data collection, research initiatives and conservation programs, and some organic corn and cotton farmers receive subsidies through traditional programs. But funding for organic remains a drop in the bucket when you consider the $93 billion that Congress is projected to spend on farmers and ranchers during the life of the five-year farm bill.
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