An increase in demand for organic food in the United States is on the rise. The term “organic” is broadly defined as the production of food without the use of man-made chemicals and includes everything from food to clothing to personal care products.
According to the USDA, despite a steady increase in demand for more organic products, a majority of U.S. farmers are reluctant to make the switch from conventional crops. Corn, soybeans and cotton have the lowest level of organic adoption.
Making the switch to organic is not an easy transition. In order for crops to be labeled organic, farmers cannot have used any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers on their land for the previous three years. This is a big reason why so much organic food is coming into the United States from other countries.
While overall yields are lower, and the cost of labor higher, for organic corn and soybean farmers, there are usually higher returns on organic crops. This is causing some farmers to consider moving to an organic operation. The USDA reported a 13 percent increase in certified organic farms in the United States from 2015 to 2016. In June of 2016, the number of organic farms reached 14,979. The states with the most organic cropland are California with 688,000 acres followed by Montana, Wisconsin, New York and North Dakota.
US Farm Data’s database of more than 2.5 million farmers allows you to connect with your specific target market of farmers—including organic farmers—throughout the U.S.