U.S. Organic Farmland Reaches Record 4.1 Million Acres, Up 11% Compared to 2014

U.S. Organic Farmland Reaches Record 4.1 Million Acres, Up 11% Compared to 2014

Source - Presence Marketing December 2016 Newsletter

What do California, Montana, Wisconsin, New York and North Dakota have in common? They are the top five states, respectively, in terms of overall organic acreage, says a new report from market research company Mercaris. California, with nearly 689,000 acres, remains by far the top organic producer, yet surprisingly, Montana saw 30% growth in organic acreage, and is now the number two producing state, with over 417,000 acres in 2016 – an increase of 100,000 acres since 2014 and adding 50 new organic farms, writes Ken Roseboro in the Organic and Non-GMO Report. Adding more than 40,000 acres, North Dakota edged out Oregon for the number five position. 

Overall, organic farmland in the U.S. reached 4.1 million acres in 2016, an 11% increase compared to 2014 data, reports Mercaris. Additionally, the number of U.S. certified organic farms were up 6.2%, totaling 14,979, an increase of 1,000 farms compared to 2014. Top organic crops include alfalfa/hay, with more than 800,000 acres in production in 2016, followed by organic wheat, corn, soybeans and oats, reported Mercaris. However, except for organic oats, which now accounts for 3.6% of total oat acreage in the U.S., organic wheat, corn and soybeans account for less than 1% of total respective crop acreage in the U.S. 

With larger companies entering the organic market, such as General Mills’ announcement to increase organic acreage from which it sources ingredients to 250,000 acres by 2019, and Dean Foods’ announcement in November that it has formed a joint venture with Organic Valley, the number of organic acres is likely to increase. “I think we will see more of an impact of those programs in the next few years as more farmers start the transition process (to organic),” said Alex Heilman, a spokesperson for Mercaris

Steven Hoffman is Managing Director of Compass Natural, providing brand marketing, PR, social media, and strategic business development services to natural, organic and sustainable products businesses. Contact steve@compassnatural.com

*This content was originally published in the Presence Marketing December 2016 Newsletter.