Organic Sales Soared in 2016


Consumers used their wallets to show their increasing preference for organically grown food in 2016, and there’s every reason to believe this promising trend will continue. Results from the 2016 Certified Organic Survey conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), show that sales were up 23 percent from $6.2B in 2015 to $7.6B in 2016.

At the same time, the number of certified organic farms in the country increased 11 percent to 14,217, and the number of certified acres increased 15 percent to 5.0M.

  • California, with $2.9B in certified organic sales, continued to lead the nation, accounting for 38 percent of the U.S. total.
  • Three states had more than 1,000 certified farms: California (2,713), Wisconsin (1,276), and New York (1,059).

The top commodities in 2016 were:

  • Milk - $1.4B, up 18 percent
  • Eggs - $816M, up 11 percent
  • Broiler chickens - $750M, up 78 percent
  • Apples - $327M, up 8 percent
  • Lettuce - $277M, up 6 percent
  • Other top organic crops included strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, hay, spinach, and mushrooms.

Growing demand for organic food is providing economic opportunity in both urban and rural communities. With an influx of new and transitioning organic farmers, it’s more important than ever to ensure they have what they need to be successful. At OFRF, we believe continued growth of organic agriculture requires investment in research, extension, and education programs that provide sound information and assistance to organic farmers. We are now actively advocating for passage of the Organic Agriculture Research Act, which would reauthorize and increase funds for USDA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) in the next Farm Bill. 

In 2015, OFRF conducted a national survey of certified organic producers and used the input we received from nearly 2,000 farmers to map the need for future research investment in the 2016 National Organic Research Agenda. We also published an analysis of USDA organic research investments. Together, these reports provide an in-depth understanding of the state of organic agriculture in the U.S., and the research needed to increase both the number of organic farms and acres. The Organic Agriculture Research Act will ensure continued investment in this critical research. You can read more about the proposed legislation here.

Signup for OFRF’s monthly online newsletter to stay up to date and get involved in supporting this important legislation and other efforts that foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming system. 

Complete survey results and more information on the NASS Organic program can be found here.