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Organic Hotspots

Conclusive research now links economic health at the county level to organic agriculture, and shows that organic food and crop production–and the business activities accompanying organic agriculture–creates real and long-lasting regional economic opportunities.

AlertEconomic benefits of organic agriculture highlighted in new Federal Reserve book "Harvesting Opportunity: The power of regional food system investments in transforming communities." Read the press release and check out the organic chapter here. 

U.S. Organic Hotspots and their Benefit to Local Economies was prepared for the Organic Trade Association (OTA) by Penn State Agricultural Economist Dr. Edward Jaenicke.

The research identifies 225 counties in the United States in organic hotspots — counties with high levels of organic agricultural activity that have neighboring counties with high organic activity — and then looks at how these organic hotspots impact key county-level economic indicators.

Organic Hotspots boost household incomes and reduce poverty levels — and at greater rates than general agriculture activity, and even more than major anti-poverty programs.

  • Being an Organic Hotspot increases median household income by over $2,000
  • Being an Organic Hotspot lowers a county’s poverty rate by as much as 1.35 percentage points

Organic is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. food industry. Organic food sales increase by double digits annually, far outstripping the growth rate for the overall food market. Now, an unprecedented and conclusive study links economic health to organic agriculture.

What exactly does the Organic Hotspots research say?

Organic Hotspots are as diversified as the organic industry, and represent the various kinds of organic agricultural activity and accompanying businesses: crop production, livestock production, organic processors. Organic Hotspots are found throughout the country, but specific examples of organic hotspots include Monterey County in California, Huron County in Michigan, Clayton County in Iowa, and Carroll County in Maryland.

“We know that organic agriculture benefits our health and our environment. This significant research shows organic can also benefit our livelihoods and help secure our financial future.” -Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of OTA

The U.S. Organic Hotspots and their Benefit to Local Economies research also identifies what factors create organic hotspots, how the effect of organic agricultural hotspots compare with those of general agriculture, and finally recommends specific policies to foster more Organic Hotspots throughout the nation.

Learn More

Organic Hotspots White Paper  Organic Hotspots Fact Sheet Press Release                FAQ's about Organic Hotspots