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Less than 1 percent of United States farms had an organic certification in 2017, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Due to its environmental and health benefits, organic agriculture is one sustainable agriculture method many farmers are hoping to adopt.
Yet farmers seeking to tap into the organic market often face prohibitive costs when transitioning their conventional production methods to organic ones. This includes long turnover times for certification and the substantial costs of equipment and seeds.
According to articles from Public Radio International and others, the demand for United States organic products has outgrown the supply. High levels of imports make up the difference. This is true despite a 7 percent increase in the number of certified organic farms from 2016 to 2017, according to USDA data.
In response, private companies are working to play a major role to help finance the upfront costs, ensure a steady buyer or provide additional support programs. Their goal is to increase the number of organic farms.