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Certified organic cropland price study released

A private survey is finding organic cropland and land rents provide a significant premium to farmers.

Erin Leonard with Mercaris is the project coordinator of the Mercoterra project, which investigates the impact of organic certification on land values with support from several partners. She says when compared to USDA land rental values, “The Mercaris survey found that land was about 25 percent higher for the certified organic land.”

She says while more than 60 percent of conventional farmland is owned, only 36 percent of organic operators owned their land in the survey.

For those who owned their organic land, Leonard says nearly all the farmers transitioned it themselves and land has been organic for an average of 10 years.

“Sixty percent reported that after transition, their net operating income has increased, and 30 percent of these respondents were in the process of converting more acres.”

Those farmers also believe they can sell the organic land at a premium.

Leonard says the next phase of this project will be to collect more data and create an extensive digital tool to track organic land in the U.S.

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