Organic agriculture: consumer demand and economic opportunity

Organic farming is an important sector of our nation's agricultural economy. Organic agriculture is a viable model for economic growth and stability for many farmers. In some cases, the extra income from producing and selling organic products can allow family farmers to stay on their land.

Consumer demand for organically produced goods continues to show double-digit growth, and organic sales account for more than 4 percent of total U.S. food sales. In fact, demand for organic food is growing so fast that consumer demand is outstripping some domestic supplies. The U.S. spends more than $1 billion per year to import organic food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and imports of organic corn and soybeans increased 216 percent and 30 percent, respectively, in 2015. This leaves much opportunity for Iowa farmers to enter the organic market and benefit from the increased price points.

Read on to learn about organic agriculture and production in Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Anna Johnson and Lacie Dotterweich also contributed to these fact sheets.