U.S. farmers harvested nearly 3.3 million acres of certified-organic field crops in 2019, driven by 14 percent more organic field-crop operations. The numbers reported in the Mercaris Final 2019 Acreage Report show that the number of growers converting land to organic production escalated significantly, adding to the U.S. organic harvest and offsetting the impact of a rainy growing season.
The report shows the importance of understanding regional variations that drive the overall growth of certified-organic production. According to the report final numbers were more than previous estimates for every region of the United States.
During 2019 there were 1.1 million acres of organic hay and alfalfa were harvested, an increase of 8 percent year-over-year with 11 percent more certified-organic operations.
During 2019 there was 13 percent more certified-organic operations harvesting organic corn, offsetting a significant decline in the number of acres harvested per operation.
Certified-organic operations harvesting organic soybean reached 2,835, an increase of 11 percent year-over-year.
Harvested organic-wheat acres, mostly driven by expansion in the High Plains region, grew 16 percent year-over-year.
“2019 was a tough year for agriculture overall, with a number of macroeconomic and weather-climate-related events adding to the uncertainty,” said Kellee James, CEO of Mercaris. “Because of this it’s more important than ever to track and understand key production statistics for organic agriculture, a sector that continues to show strong growth.”
Ryan Koory, director of economics at Mercaris, said, “Despite what can be fairly described as the most difficult growing season in more than a decade, 2019 was a remarkable year for organic production. While growth in the organic industry was anticipated, the 14 percent year-over-year expansion in certified-organic field-crop operations well exceeded expectations. Overall acreage expansion did prove to be limited by weather throughout the growing season. That said, the addition of new organic growers suggests that 2020 could see organic production reach new record highs.”
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