Sales of certified organic foods up 13% in 2015

by Erica Shaffer
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 This is a map of the number of certified organic farms, by state, in 2015
Livestock and poultry products such as milk and eggs were the leading category in sales, USDA reported.
 

WASHINGTON – More than 12,000 certified organic farms in the United States generated $6.2 billion in sales in 2015, an increase of 13 percent from $5.5 billion reported in 2014, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the US Dept. of Agriculture reported in its 2015 Certified Organic Survey.

Ten states accounted for 78 percent of all certified organic food sales. California lead with $2.4 billion which accounted for 40 percent of the total value of all certified organic sales in the US, NASS said in its report.

The value of sales from organic milk and eggs led all food categories with $1.9 billion followed by vegetables with $1.4 billion; fruits, tree nuts and berries with $1.2 billion; meat and poultry at $743 million and field crops at $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.

“In the 2015 Certified Organic Survey, producers reported that they expect to expand US organic production in the coming years, making the data even more important for policy and programs,” NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer said in a news release. “These results will assist with the development of appropriate risk management programs designed to help organic producers.

“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.”

California and Wisconsin had the largest number of certified organic farms with 2,637 and 1,205 respectively. NASS also said that the first point of sale for 75 percent of all US organic farms and ranches was within 100 miles from the farm while 35 percent was 100 to 499 miles away. Farms in eastern and southern states, along with Alaska and Hawaii, had the highest number of farms selling products close to the production site.

Additionally, 71 percent of certified organic producers sold their products to buyers for supermarkets, processors, distributors, packers and cooperatives and other wholesale markets. Meanwhile, 36 percent of producers reported selling directly to consumers and 22 percent sold directly to retail markets and institutions, NASS said in its report.

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