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Organic crop production could reach new records

A new report says almost 3.3 million acres of certified organic field crops were harvested in 2019 with a 14 percent increase in certified operations.

Economic director Ryan Koory with Mercaris tells Brownfield that number is double their fall estimate but a difficult growing season reduced the rate of growth in harvested production.

“If we see growth in the number of operations and an improving harvested area and improvements in yields, we could be looking at not just record but significant record growth in organic production in the United States over the next couple of years.”

Koory says the Upper Northwest has been a strong region to convert to organic production for food-grade field crops as well as the Corn Belt.

“Particularly in states like Illinois, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.”

He says proximity to organic grain elevators and processors isn’t always a factor for farmers transitioning as premium advantages can make up increased transportation costs.

Koory says increasing organic demand is helping offset increases in U.S. production before the supply and demand balances even infiltrate import competition.  About 30 percent of organic corn and 80 percent of organic soybean supplies in the U.S. are imported.

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