Thursday, May 11, 2017 by Rhonda Johansson
Good news for all local farmers! The latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) survey reveals that there are now 24,650 certified organic operations in the U.S. This is a 13 percent increase from 2016 and the highest growth rate we’ve seen since 2008. The number of local, organic farms has been steadily increasing — albeit haphazardly — since 2002. However, it is only this year where a steady and distinctive rise is seen. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition wrote on their website that “organic agriculture is one of the fastest growing sectors…for farmers across the country, strong demand for organic food translates into new and growing market opportunities.”
USDA organic certification provides farms or processing facilities the right and access to sell, label, and represent their products as organic in the United States. It is of particular importance for farms across rural America, where local industries contribute much to the area’s economic growth. As consumer demand for organic products grows, so too do sales. The USDA reported that there was approximately $43 billion in U.S. sales of organic products in 2015. Local farmers have said that being certified as organic by the USDA allows them to receive premium prices for their products.
The USDA ends their report quite succinctly; offering no justification as to why the rise is suddenly so sharp or relevant. Regardless, the growth is being lauded by many health advocates who believe in integrating into a cleaner, greener, and more organic lifestyle. The perils of pesticide-laden food, toxic tap water, and similar environmental concerns make it more necessary for people to be diligent about what they eat, what they do, and most importantly, how they live. Opting for organic food is an advantageous choice not only for your own personal health, but for the planet as well. There are several other reasons to choose organic foods, as listed on Prevention.com:
One other benefit of organic local farming is that it protects the environment. The foundation of all local farming is one of eco-sustenance. Preservation of soil and crop rotation keep farmlands healthy. Moreover, the natural ecosystem, wherein natural flora and animal life is allowed to thrive, is balanced.
While there are no official forecasts on the trend, it is hoped that more local farms going organic will be seen spreading across our nation. Follow more news about organics at Organics.news.