2004 Organic: Agriculture's Continued Growth - Organic Trade Association
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2004 Organic: Agriculture's Continued Growth


Request: Comment to the USDA National Agriculture Statistic Service (NASS) that the following questions be included in the next agriculture census:

Three questions for organic acreage: one each for certified cropland, certified cropland harvested, and certified pastureland. Three questions for value of products sold: one each for crops sold; crops with milk and other livestock products income; and crops with actual livestock (chickens, cattle etc.) income.


Please send request prior to October 18 to: Ginny McBride, NASS Clearance Officer, USDA, Room 5336 South Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Wash. DC 20250-2024; gmcbride@nass.usda.gov. After October 18 to: Carol House, Associate Administrator, NASS, USDA, 202-720-4333.


Request: Please ask for a list of certified organic operations in your state or district from the National Organic Program and report back to the Organic Trade Association any information you collect.



In the past year, several surveys have been conducted to record growth of organic products sales, level of satisfaction among farmers with the National Organic Program, and consumer purchasing trends. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service released the 2002 Agriculture Census data that for the first time reported data regarding organic.


The National Organic Program has promised a complete inventory of certified operations. To date, this list has not been made available. For Members of Congress to better understand the importance of organic agriculture in their states and districts, OTA requests that Members request a list of certified organic operations. The following provides some resources on the organic industry:


2002 Census of Agriculture

More information: www.usda.gov/nass.

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service included a question about organic production in its 2002 Census of Agriculture. According to this data, please find included here three maps representing the number of certified organic farms, the number of acres being farmed organically, and the value of organic commodities all at the county level. Along with the USDA’s Economic Research Service 2001 data, a clearer picture of organic agriculture can be painted. Unfortunately, the picture is not complete and we ask Members of Congress to help us gather information from the National Organic Program of all certified organic operations.


Organic Trade Association’s 2004 Manufacturer Survey

More information: www.ota.com/news/press/141.html

§         U.S. organic food and non-food sales grew by approximately 20 percent during 2003, to reach $10.8 billion

§         U.S. organic food sales have grown between 17 and 21 percent each year since 1997, to nearly triple in sales, while total U.S. food sales over this time period have grown in the range of only 2 to 4 percent a year. Organic food sales now represent approximately 2 percent of U.S. food sales.

§         Organic non-food categories grew by 19.8 percent, to reach nearly $440 million in sales. These include:

o        Personal care product sales totaling $170 million,

o        Nutritional supplement sales totaling $151 million,

o        Organic fiber (such as organic cotton, linen and wool) sales totaling $85 million, and

o        Household cleaner, flowers, and pet food sales totaling $32 million.


Determination of the impact of USDA’s National Organic Program on organic farms in Iowa

More information: www.ota.com/news/press/150.html

§         Availability of organic seed is one of the most pressing needs of organic farmers, according to a survey of Iowa farmers conducted by the Iowa State University Organic Program in collaboration with the Organic Trade Association in late 2003 – early 2004.

§         Nearly 40 percent (38.3 percent) of those responding said they plan to increase their organic acres, with the majority saying they planned to increase their acreage by up to 25 percent.

§         Expressing concern that large corporations and special interest groups could influence the government program, respondents voiced strong support for maintaining high standards to ensure consumer confidence.

§         Respondents also felt the following are important to improve the long-term economic sustainability of organic farms:

§         More support of small farmers and less subsidization of large corporate farms

§         More research dedicated to the harmful effects of genetically engineered crops

§         More efforts to increase consumer awareness and demand for organic products

§         Stricter standards for livestock housing

§         Increasing cooperatives and creating viable cooperative structure

§         Finding ways to reward producers more, such as via higher prices and contracted prices

§         Making certification less complicated and expensive.


Fourth National Organic Farmers’ Survey

More information: Organic Farming Research Foundation’s web site (www.ofrf.org).

§         Ninety-four percent of respondents said they ran single-family operations, family farm partnerships or family farm corporations. More than half (54 percent) farmed fewer than 50 certified organic acres, with another 25 percent reporting farming between 50 and 179 certified organic acres, and 21 percent reporting farming 180 certified organic acres or more.

§         79 percent of vegetables produced were sold within 100 miles of the farm.

§         Organic livestock products tended to be sold furthest from the farm, with 47 percent sold more than 500 miles away.

§         26 percent of respondents said their prices went up in 2001, 15 percent said they went down, and 52 percent said their prices held steady.


Consumer Trends

Sixty-six percent of U.S. consumers report they use organic products at least occasionally, according to The Hartman Group’s report, Organic Food & Beverage Trends 2004: Lifestyles, Language and Category Adoption. That number is up from 55 percent in 2000. A surge in periphery organic shoppers—those who buy organic products only occasionally—has been largely driven by increased access to organic products in mainstream markets, heightened concern about health, gradual emergence of organic alternatives in mainstream brands, and an increase in information sources. More information: www.hartman-group.com.

2014 Annual Fund

Research and Promotion 2012