U.S. organic corn and soybean acreage increases but remains less than 1 percent of total
Soaring demand for organic livestock and processed food products has stimulated production of organic corn and soybeans in the United States. Organic farming of these two commodities constitutes a small though growing portion of total corn and soybean harvested acreage. From 2008 to 2019, harvested acreage of organic corn for grain increased 124 percent while acreage for organic soybeans rose 73 percent. Despite the upward trend, the organic share of total domestic corn and soybean acreage accounted for less than 1 percent of total harvested acres for each crop in 2019. Organic farming typically costs more than conventional agriculture because of the production practices required for USDA to certify products as organic. Costs for organic corn are estimated to be $83–$98 higher per acre than their conventional counterparts and costs for organic soybeans are estimated at $106–$125 higher. Organic corn and soybeans normally draw a higher price as well; however, in late 2020, the organic premiums for these two commodities declined. Organic soybean price premiums appear to have recuperated since the beginning of 2021, while the corn premium has yet to do so. This chart is drawn from USDA, Economic Research Service’s Feed Grains Outlook, August 2021.
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