Start Date

2-12-1999 12:00 AM

Description

According to the USDA Economic Research Service, statistics on organic production in the U.S. lag far behind those complied for conventional agriculture. In the last USDA census in 1995, there were 4,050 organic farmers reporting 1.5 million acres of production (Greene 1999). The Organic Farming Research Foundation estimates that there were 10,000 U.S. organic farmers in 1998. In Iowa, 120,000 acres of organic production were reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS 1999). This figure reflects only acreage reported by those farmers who returned their survey; thus, more acres are believed to go unreported. This increase in organic acreage represents a doubling from the previous year, and a four-fold increase since 1993. The organic industry has been experiencing a 20% annual growth rate, with U.S. sales listed at $4.5 billion in 1998 (OT A 1998). The organic industry is a consumer-driven market based on consumers' belief that organic products are safer for human consumption and beneficial to the environment (Bourne 1999). Many consumers affirm the superior health benefits and taste of organic products (Sylvander 1993), although scientific studies are limited, except in the area of pesticide content (C.U. 1999). Researchers found 52% more of the conventional produce on U.S. supermarket shelves contained pesticide residues compared with the organic produce.

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Dec 2nd, 12:00 AM

Targeting the Premium Market: Organic Crops for Iowa

According to the USDA Economic Research Service, statistics on organic production in the U.S. lag far behind those complied for conventional agriculture. In the last USDA census in 1995, there were 4,050 organic farmers reporting 1.5 million acres of production (Greene 1999). The Organic Farming Research Foundation estimates that there were 10,000 U.S. organic farmers in 1998. In Iowa, 120,000 acres of organic production were reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS 1999). This figure reflects only acreage reported by those farmers who returned their survey; thus, more acres are believed to go unreported. This increase in organic acreage represents a doubling from the previous year, and a four-fold increase since 1993. The organic industry has been experiencing a 20% annual growth rate, with U.S. sales listed at $4.5 billion in 1998 (OT A 1998). The organic industry is a consumer-driven market based on consumers' belief that organic products are safer for human consumption and beneficial to the environment (Bourne 1999). Many consumers affirm the superior health benefits and taste of organic products (Sylvander 1993), although scientific studies are limited, except in the area of pesticide content (C.U. 1999). Researchers found 52% more of the conventional produce on U.S. supermarket shelves contained pesticide residues compared with the organic produce.