Two questions that tend to go hand in hand that farmers ask when considering the transition to organic production are the following:
- How long is this “trend” going to last?
- Is it too late to enter the marketplace?
It is easy to understand where farmers are coming from because transitioning means change and change means adding stress to a farmer, even if it is changing for the good.
In The State of Organic Field Crops 2018 Edition eBook, I have been noticing the increase in the demand for feed ingredients, for chickens in particular. In 2015 and 2016, organic sales from milk and eggs were the top certified organic commodities sold. However, in 2016 the broiler chickens stole the show by increasing their organic sales to $750 million which was a 78 percent increase from the prior year. Making broiler chickens, last year, the fastest growing organic sector.
Reflecting that demand, just last week another example was when Perdue was in the news for investing $30 million in an organic grain plant.
“Perdue AgriBusiness, a division of Perdue Farms, announced on Nov. 5 a $30 million investment to open an organic grain receiving and storage facility at Tradepoint Atlantic in eastern Baltimore county to meet the rising demand for organic feed ingredients in the region. The facility will include grain and oilseed processing/milling and support more than 25 new jobs.”
To keep up with the demand for organic products as farmers we need to domestically be able to support not only the organic production of food ingredients but feed ingredients as well.
U.S. organic acres are on the increase.
- According to data from Mercaris on 2017 production (there is no USDA NASS report for 2017):
- Total organic acres were 6.4 million acres
- Field crops accounted for 2.8 million acres
- Corn was grown on 410,705 acres
- Soybeans were grown on 205,475 acres
- Over the past four years, overall acres have grown at an average of 20.5%
- Corn acres have grown at 34.8% per year
- Soybean acres have increased at an average rate of 27.6% per year
* Chart by Agromeris
Which brings up an answer to the questions farmers commonly ask me: how long is this “trend” going to last and am I too late to enter the marketplace. Putting some numbers to how many acres are currently planted helped; however, quantifying in acres the opportunities for domestic producers adds perspective and eases some of the stress of transitioning.
How many more U.S. Organic acres are needed?
Peter Golbitz highlighted the following:
- Based on just 10% annual growth rate for demand for the next five years (conservative), the market for organic soybeans and corn for feed will need the equivalent of 1.46 million acres in 2019 and will grow to 1.95 million acres by 2022.
- With an estimated 639,000 acres in organic corn and soy production in 2018, to keep up with a growing market and to reduce dependence on imports, we will need to bring on an additional 1.3 million acres of organic soybeans and corn within the next five years.
* Chart by Agromeris
Looking at the numbers above it is evident that there is a continuous demand for organic grain production and the shift towards organic is here to stay and consistently growing in momentum. Organic farming has also been proven viable as a way to help ensure the future of farmers by keeping them on the land.
YieldOrganic is here to help remove the barriers to producing and marketing large-scale organic commodities. We bring people together by empowering farmers to produce organic commodities and remove obstacles to fair commodity transactions for buyers by bringing quality producers to list their crops in our simple platform.
To get started with the transition take the easiest step, download the free eBook Grow Organic: A Farmer’s Guide.