United States farmers harvested nearly 3.3 million acres of certified organic field crops in 2019, driven by 14% more organic field crop operations, according to Mercaris, the market data service and online trading platform for organic, non-GMO and certified agricultural commodities.
The numbers reported in Mercaris’ Final 2019 Acreage Report show that the number of growers converting land to organic production escalated significantly over 2019, adding to the U.S. organic harvest and offsetting the impact of a rainy growing season.
“2019 was a tough year for agriculture overall, with a number of macroeconomic and weather/climate-related events adding to the uncertainty,” said Kellee James, CEO of Mercaris. “Because of this, it’s more important than ever to track and understand key production statistics for organic agriculture, a sector that continues to show strong growth.”
Furthermore, the report shows the importance of understanding regional variations that drive the overall growth of certified organic production.
According to the report, released today, final numbers beat previous estimates for every region of the U.S.
- 1.1 million acres of organic hay and alfalfa were harvested over 2019, up 8% y/y with 11% more certified organic operations.
- 13% more certified organic operations harvested organic corn over 2019, offsetting a significant decline in the number of acres harvested per operation.
- Certified organic operations harvesting organic soybean reached 2,835, up 11% y/y.
- Harvested organic wheat acres, mostly driven by expansion in the High Plains region, grew 16% y/y.
“Despite what can be fairly described as the most difficult growing season in more than a decade, 2019 was a remarkable year for organic production,” said Ryan Koory, Director of Economics at Mercaris. “While growth in the organic industry was anticipated, the 14% y/y expansion in certified organic field crop operations well exceeded expectations. Overall acreage expansion did prove to be limited by weather throughout the growing season. That said, the addition of new organic growers suggests that 2020 could see organic production reach new record highs.”