Agricultural Information Bulletin No. (AIB-770) 28 pp

June 2001

U.S. Organic Farming Emerges in the 1990s: Adoption of Certified Systems

Farmers have been developing organic farming systems in the United States for decades. State and private institutions also began emerging during this period to set organic farming standards and provide third-party verification of label claims, and legislation requiring national standards was passed in the 1990s. More U.S. producers are considering organic farming systems in order to lower input costs, conserve nonrenewable resources, capture high-value markets, and boost farm income. Organic farming systems rely on practices such as cultural and biological pest management, and virtually prohibit synthetic chemicals in crop production and antibiotics or hormones in livestock production. This report updates U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates of land farmed with organic practices during 1992-94 with 1997 estimates, and provides new State- and crop-level detail.

Keywords: organic farming systems, organic certification, certified organic acreage and livestock, price premiums, national organic rules, specialty agriculture, high-value crops, farmers' markets

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Last updated: Friday, June 15, 2001

For more information contact: Catherine Greene