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USDA: Organic sales up 23% in 2016

pablohart/ThinkstockPhotos Organic sign
California , Wisconsin and New York all have more than 1,000 certified organic farms.

U.S. farms produced and sold $7.6 billion in certified organic commodities in 2016, according to data released Sept. 20, 2017, by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Results of the 2016 Certified Organic Survey show that 2016 sales were up 23% from $6.2 billion in 2015. During the same year, the number of certified organic farms in the country increased 11% to 14,217, and the number of certified acres increased 15% to 5.0 million.


California, with $2.9 billion in certified organic sales, continued to lead the nation in certified sales, accounting for 38% of the U.S. total. It also had the largest share of certified organic acres and farms.

Three states had more than 1,000 certified farms:

  1. California (2,713),
  2. Wisconsin (1,276),
  3. New York (1,059).


“The results of the 2016 Certified Organic Survey show the continued interest and growth in organic foods,” according to Hubert Hamer, NASS Administrator. “The survey provides the only comprehensive source of national and state data on certified organic production. It was expanded in 2016 from previous years to include fresh and processed information separately for all fruit and berry crops, as well as to include grape data by variety.”

Ten states accounted for 77% of U.S. certified organic sales, virtually the same share as in 2015 and 2014.

Crops accounted for 56% of the sale of certified organic production; livestock, poultry, and their products accounted for 44%.

Organic production encompasses a wide range of commodities, including:

  • livestock and poultry products (primarily milk and eggs), with 2016 sales of $2.2 billion;
  • vegetables, $1.6 billion;
  • fruits, tree nuts, and berries, $1.4 billion;
  • livestock and poultry, $1.2 billion;
  • field crops, $763 million.
  • The top commodities in 2016 were:
  • Milk – $1.4 billion, up 18%
  • Eggs – $816 million, up 11%
  • Broiler chickens – $750 million, up 78%
  • Apples – $327 million, up 8%
  • Lettuce – $277 million, up 6%

Other top organic crops were strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, hay, spinach, and mushrooms.

NASS conducted the 2016 Certified Organic Survey in conjunction with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA).

“RMA relies on the information to expand crop insurance options and set price elections for organic production, “said RMA Acting Administrator Heather Manzano.

The survey is a census of all known U.S. farmers and ranchers with certified organic production in 2016. Producers must meet the standards set out by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program and be certified compliant by an approved agent of the program. Survey results are available at the Quick Stats database at


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