Iowa Farmers Growing More Organic Corn, Soybeans, Oats; Driving 30 Pct Increase in Organic Acreage
Iowa farmers are growing more organic corn, soybeans, oats, and hay, resulting in a 30 percent increase in organic acreage across the state over the past three years, according to a new report issued by the USDA.
Last year Iowa had 779 certified organic farms totaling 133,961 acres - an increase of 47 more farms and 30,555 more organic acreage than the state had in 2016. This shift now makes Iowa the sixth biggest organic producing state in the country when ranked by number of farms, and makes the state the country’s leading producer of organic corn and soybeans, at 13 and 15 percent of the total, respectively. Iowa is now also responsible for providing 30 percent of the U.S.’s organic oats.
The shift to organic is being seen as beneficial for the state’s farmers as it allows for greater returns from fewer acres, and good for the environment as organic production reduces the amounts of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers used throughout the growing season.
This trend is also being driven by greater consumer interest in locally produced foods - something that has only intensified with the pandemic, and something that is expected to continue to expand in the coming years.