Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that certified organic operations have seen significant growth. According to data released by the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP), the amount of domestic organic operations have increased by nearly 12% between 2014 and 2015, the highest growth rate since 2008 and a nearly 300% increase since 2002, when the count began. Monetarily, the total retail market for organic products is valued at $39 billion domestically and $75 million worldwide.
“Organic food is one of the fasting growing segments of American agriculture,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in a press release. “As consumer demand for organic products continues to grow, the USDA organic seal has become a leading global standard. The increasing number of organic operations shows that USDA’s strong support for the vibrant organic sector is helping to create jobs and opportunities in rural communities.” Demand for local food is growing in conjunction with organics. Under Vilsack, USDA has invested over $1 billion to more than 40,000 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects since 2009.
There was an estimated $12 billion of total sales of local food in 2014, which is up from $5 billion in 2008. USDA has also supported organic operations by making the organic certification process more accessible, streamlined and affordable through a variety of online resources and making $11.5 million available in 2015 to assist organic operations with their certification costs.