Organic Agriculture Seeing Growth as Traditional Farming Faces Continued Challenges
As traditional farming is weathering five years of low commodity prices and a range of other challenges on top of unsustainable income levels, organic farming is experiencing growth.
As the number of traditional U.S. farms declines, the number of organic farms has increased by 27 percent between 2012-2017. Over that same time period the value of average sales per organic farm has increased by a significant 84 percent, as the value of organic sales in 2017 alone was $7.2 billion. Meanwhile, net farm income for traditional farms has fallen nearly 50 percent since 2013.
The ongoing trade war with China is also compounding a difficult situation for the country’s farmers, who have seen their income fall by $11.8 billion in the first quarter of 2019, and farm debt increase to levels not seen since the 1980s.
Despite requiring a shift in mindset and coming with what can be an intimidating learning curve, organic production provides farmers with new markets, while being more resilient to climate threats, and having a reduced environmental impact.