Toxin-Free Farmlands Rise to 4.1 Million Acres
According to data service Mercaris, the U.S. had a record 4.1 million acres of organic farmland in 2016, an 11 percent increase over 2014. As of June 2016, the number of certified organic farms reached 14,979, including 1,000 startups.
The top states in organic cropland after California, with 688,000 acres, are Montana, Wisconsin, New York and North Dakota. Montana hosted a 30 percent increase to 417,000 acres in 2016, adding 100,000 acres since 2014 and 50 new organic farms.
In assessing the positive trend, Scott Shander, a Mercaris economist, says, “With today’s lower commodity grain prices, farmers are looking to add value and meet consumer demands. The global market is dictating U.S. prices. Demand for organic corn and soybeans is still growing strongly, but production is not growing as fast, so more of the production will be international.”
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This article appears in the April 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.