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U.S. Organic Production Continues to Increase

USDA certified organic farmland doubled from 2002 to 2005.

The volume of organic farming in the U.S. continues to climb, according to USDA's Organic Production report released in December. In 2005, U.S. producers devoted over 4 million acres to organic production, including 2.3 million acres of cropland and 1.7 million acres of pasture and rangeland.

California led all states in number of certified organic operations and cropland acres, with 1,738 and 222,557, respectively. California was also third in pasture acres with 124,026, behind Texas (241,353) and first-place Alaska (1,460,000). Montana was the only other state with over 100,000 certified organic pasture acres.

North Dakota was second in cropland acres at 143,322, followed by Montana (126,450) and Minnesota (116,813). Wisconsin and Washington were a distant second and third in number of certified organic operations, with 580 and 527.

According to the report, certified organic farmland made up about 0.5% of all U.S. cropland and pasture in 2005. Leading organic products included carrots (making up 6% of U.S. carrot acreage), lettuce (4%), and apples (3%). Fresh produce continues to be the top-selling organic retail sector, but organic livestock is expanding as well.

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