USDA announces record number of organic producers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that the organic industry continues to show remarkable growth, with 19,474 certified organic operations in the USA. According to data released by the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP), the number of domestic certified organic operations increased by more than 5 percent over the last year. Since the count began in 2002, the number of domestic organic operations has increased by over 250 percent. The National Organic Program (NOP) oversees USDA-accredited certifying agents and their certification of organic production and handling operations. In January of each year, the NOP receives information on certified operations from certifying agents. The certified operations list is available here.
Along with programs to support conservation, provide access to loans and grants, fund organic research and education, and integrated pest management, USDA administers organic certification cost share programs to offset the costs of organic certification for U.S. producers and handlers nationwide. USDA is using funding from the 2014 Farm Bill to develop the Organic Integrity Database, a modernized certified organic operations database that will provide accurate information about all certified operations that is updated on a regular basis. The modernized system will allow anyone to confirm organic certification status using the online tool, support market research and supply chain connections, allow international verification of operator status to streamline import and export certificates, and establish technology connections with certifiers to provide more accurate and timely data. The initial launch is planned for September 2015. Additional information about USDA resources and support for the organic sector is available on the USDA Organics Resource page. The full press release as well as further information is available here.
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