USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released results of the 2014 Organic Survey, showing milk as the sales leader among organic commodities.
Nationally, 14,093 certified and exempt organic U.S. farms sold $5.5 billion in organic products in 2014, up 72% since 2008. The selection of organic products sold by U.S. farms in 2014 was diverse, from dairy and proteins, to fruits, vegetables and grains. The top five commodities in organic sales were:
• Milk, $1.08 billion
• Eggs, $420 million
• Broiler chickens, $372 million
• Lettuce, $264 million
• Apples, $250 million
Based on monthly USDA fluid milk sales reports, organic milk sales represent about 5% of total fluid milk product sales.
The top 10 states in sales accounted for 78% of U.S. organic sales in 2014, with California the leader at $2.2 billion. Additionally, the industry shows potential for growth in production as approximately 5,300 organic producers (39%) report they intend to increase organic production in the United States over the next five years. Another 688 farms with no current organic production are in the process of transitioning into organic agriculture production.
"Producers reported in the 2014 Organic Survey they expect to expand U.S. organic production in the coming years, making the data even more important for policy and programs. These results will assist with the development of appropriate risk management programs designed to help organic producers," said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. "The report also shows that organic producers are providing a wide variety of products to customers and are getting those items from farm to table more efficiently."
The vast majority of organic agricultural products sold in 2014 were sold close to the farm. According to the report, the first point of sale for 80% of all U.S. organic products was less than 500 miles from the farm, compared to 74% in 2008. Of the sales of organic products in 2014:
• 46% were sold within 100 miles
• 34% were sold 101-499 miles
• 18% were sold 500 or more miles
• 2% were sold internationally
Additionally, 63% of U.S. organic farms reported selling products to wholesale markets. These sales accounted for 78% of U.S. organic farm sales. Wholesale markets, such as buyers for supermarkets, processors, distributors, packers and cooperatives, were serving as the marketing channel of choice for U.S. organic farmers to get organic agriculture products to customers.
"This report helps show a more complete picture of the U.S. organic industry at the national and state levels," added Reilly. "The 2014 Organic Survey data will serve as a valuable resource as the agriculture industry continues to look for ways to meet agricultural challenges and consumer needs in the 21st century."
The survey is part of the Census of Agriculture program and was conducted by NASS in conjunction with USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) to provide objective information to serve the organic industry. Survey results are available at www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/Organic_Survey/ or the Quick Stats database at http://quickstats.nass.usda.gov. In addition, join NASS for a webinar about the 2014 Organic Survey, hosted by the USDA Organic Working Group, on Sept. 29, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET. To join the webinar, visit www.readytalk.com, dial 1-866-740-1260, and use passcode 720 6000.