California Continues to Dominate Organic Sales with $2.4 Billion of $6.2 Billion Nationally
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the results of the 2015 Certified Organic Survey, which show that 12,818 certified organic farms in the United States sold a total of $6.2 billion in organic products in 2015, up 13 percent from $5.5 billion in 2014. California and Wisconsin had the largest number of certified organic farms with 2,637 and 1,205 respectively.
The top 10 states in terms of sales accounted for 78 percent of total U.S. certified organic sales in 2014 and in 2015, showing continued national leadership by California with $2.4 billion, up $205 million since 2014. Additionally, the industry shows potential for growth in production as existing organic producers are transitioning another 151,000 acres nationally to organic production.
“In the 2015 Certified Organic Survey, producers reported that 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 Hubert Hamer. “The report also shows that organic producers are marketing their products through similar avenues in 2015 as in 2014, largely within their region, and that the value of sales increased during that time for many products.”
The selection of certified organic products sold by U.S. farms in 2015 was diverse, from dairy and meats, to fruits, vegetables and grains. The value of sales from livestock and poultry products led the way ($1.9 billion) followed by vegetables ($1.4 billion); fruits, tree nuts, and berries ($1.2 billion); livestock and poultry ($743 million), and field crops ($660 million). The top five commodities in certified organic sales were:
- Milk, $1.2 billion, up 8.4 percent from $1.1 billion in 2014.
- Eggs, $732 million, up 74.5 percent from $420 million in 2014.
- Broiler chickens, $420 million, up 13.1 percent from $371 million in 2014.
- Apples, $302 million, up 20 percent from $251 million in 2014.
- Lettuce, $262 million, down less than 1 percent from $264 million in 2014.
The vast majority of certified organic agricultural products sold in 2015 were sold close to the farm or ranch, with many growers having multiple outlets. The first point of sale for 75 percent of all U.S. organic farms and ranches was within 100 miles from the farm and 35 percent was 100-499 miles away, virtually unchanged since 2014.
Additionally, 71 percent of U.S. certified organic farms and ranches reported selling products to wholesale markets. 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 and ranchers to get their products to customers. Thirty-six percent sold directly to consumers and 22 percent sold directly to retail markets and institutions.
“The 2015 Certified 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,” said Hamer.
The 2015 Certified Organic Survey is a census of all operations identified as having certified organic production. Certified organic farms must meet the standards set out by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) and be certified compliant by an approved agent of NOP. Survey results are available at www.nass.usda.gov/organics or the Quick Stats database at http://quickstats.nass.usda.gov.
NOTE: The 2014 Organic Survey included farms exempt from certification and those transitioning to certification, but the 2014 data included in this release are for certified farms only and therefore comparable to 2015 data.