Interest in organic foods continues to rise across the U.S. as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the growth of certified organic operations in the U.S. and around the world.
According to the USDA, the U.S. now boasts 19,474 certified organic operations and a total of 27,814 worldwide. That’s more than a five percent increase over the last year. “Since the count began in 2002, the number of domestic organic operations has increased by over 250 percent,” the USDA notes on its website.
"As demand for organic products continues to soar, more and more producers are entering the organic market," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. "USDA tools and resources have created opportunities for organic farmers and more options for organic consumers. Growing demand for organic goods can be especially helpful to smaller family operations. The more diverse type of operations and the more growing market sectors we have in American agriculture, the better off our country's rural economy will be."
The USDA says its committed the organic community of growers and distributors with the proper resources to aid in further category growth. “Along with programs to support conservation, provide access to loans and grants, fund organic research and education, and integrated pest management, USDA administers organic certification cost share programs to offset the costs of organic certification for U.S. producers and handlers nationwide,” the agency explained on its website. “Now, USDA is using funding from the 2014 Farm Bill to develop the Organic Integrity Database, a modernized certified organic operations database that will provide accurate information about all certified operations that is updated on a regular basis.”
According to the USDA, the upgraded system will make it easy for anyone to confirm the organic certification status of a product by using the online tools.
The Organic Integrity Database will launch in September.
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