Organic food sales are on the rise, and in terms of individual commodities, organic milk is leading the pack. According to recently released results of USDA's 2014 Organic Survey, milk was the top organic seller by far, totaling $1.08 billion last year. Eggs came in second at $420 million, followed by broiler chickens ($372 million), lettuce ($264 million) and apples ($250 million).
The top 10 states in organic sales accounted for 78 percent of the nation's sales. California led the way at $2.2 billion, far outpacing second-place Washington, with $515 million in organic sales last year. Pennsylvania, Oregon and Wisconsin rounded out the top five. Wisconsin ranked first in the nation in number of organic dairy farms.
In all, there were 14,093 certified and exempt organic farms in 2014. These farms sold $5.5 billion in organic products last year, up 72 percent since 2008.
Eighty percent of all organic products were sold less than 500 miles from the farm, and almost half (46 percent) were sold within 100 miles. More than 60 percent of farms reported selling to wholesale markets, and these sales accounted for 78 percent of all organic farm sales.
More sales growth could be seen in the near future, as 5,300 producers, or 39 percent of the nation's organic farms, indicated their intention to step up organic production in the next five years. Another 688 nonorganic farms are in the process of joining the ranks and transitioning into organic production.
(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2015
September 28, 2015