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Organic farmers to harvest record acres

AlinaMD/iStock/Thinkstock corn field
Surge in new operations leads to 7% increase in organic cropland compared to 2018.

Organic commodity farmers will harvest a record number of acres across the U.S. this year despite the weather and trade challenges plaguing agriculture.

According to the “Annual Acreage Report” released by Mercaris, farmers will harvest 3.1 million acres of U.S. land certified for organic field crop production in 2019, an increase of 7% over 2018. The increase is driven, in large part, by a surge in new certified organic field crop operations across the nation. The West and High Plains regions saw the largest jump in organic harvested field crop acres this year, Mercaris noted.

“Organic field crop production has faced some challenges this year, with problematic weather cutting into this year’s organic corn and soybean harvest,” Mercaris director of economics Ryan Koory said. “However, the industry overall remains on a robust growth trend, and with better weather in 2020, the industry will likely see even more growth in the year to come.”

Overall total organic acres – including organic pasture, rangeland and crop area – will reach 8.3 million acres this year. In addition, 18,155 U.S. farm operations are now certified as compliant with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program standards, marking a 3% increase from 2018.

“With the addition of 517 certified organic operations this year, it is clear that the U.S. organic sector remains promising, despite the unsteady state of the U.S. agricultural industry overall,” Koory said.

Mercaris also released its new Organic Farm Heat Map, which highlights the density and distribution of U.S. organic agriculture operations and logistics.

MercarisMercaris organic acreage.jpg

“Reliable analysis about the organic landscape is critical for the entire sector, and we hope to add a new perspective with our Organic Farm Heat Map,” Mercaris co-founder and chief executive officer Kellee James said. “At Mercaris, our goal is to provide cutting-edge information to stakeholders, giving them the analysis that has long been available in other agriculture sectors.”

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