Demand for organic food in the U.S. continues to grow. After experiencing double-digit growth for a decade and positive growth through the recession, the organic sector grew 11.5 percent to $35.1 billion in sales in 2013. For farmers across the country, strong demand for organic food translates into new and growing market opportunities.
Organic agriculture benefits consumers, the environment, and the farmers’ bottom line.
Behind the organic label are organic farmers – small and large – who follow strict standards to become certified, and who have needs unique to their growing practices and markets. Considering the enormous potential organic practices have to increase farm revenue in our rural communities, preserve and enhance the environment, and provide healthy food to communities, federal policies aimed at assisting farmers’ and ranchers’ transition to organic production should be a priority.
NSAC worked with organic allies to make the 2014 Farm Bill the most supportive legislation yet for organic producers’ needs – providing over $11 million per year to help share the costs of organic certification and $100 million over five years for organic research, just to name a few.
This section of our guide provides an overview of the key federal programs focused on supporting and expanding organic production, from certification cost-share assistance for farmers to dedicated research funds for academic researchers. It includes programs directly available to producers as well as programs available to community-based organizations and institutions working on the ground to strengthen and expand organic production nationwide.