#143. Niche Farming – Going Organic

Posted on | The Agurban

Niche Farming – Going Organic

Organic food production is one niche area of agriculture that is gaining more and more attention. A recent article in Daily Yonder, an e-zine on all topics rural, discussed the growing demand for organic food vs. the supply.

“The demand for organic food is outstripping the ability of farmers and ranchers to supply it. Yet U.S. farmers and ranchers have been slow to turn acreage over to organic production,” stated the article. China has nearly twice the acreage in organic food production than the United States, and both Australian and Argentine farmers and ranchers have devoted millions more acres to organic production that have U.S. farmers and ranchers. (It is noted that these countries may have different requirements for maintaining “organic” status.) Only one half of one percent of this country’s crop and pastureland had been certified organic in 2005.

The demand for organic goods is growing faster than supply. “Just as mainstream consumers are growing hungry for untainted food that also nourishes their social conscience, it is getting harder and harder to find organic ingredients,” a recent Business Week report stated.

Organic production in the U.S. is a minuscule portion of most agricultural sectors. But the slow adoption of organic methods comes despite the urging of economists who stress the higher prices paid for organic products.

Mark Drabenstott, economist formerly with the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank says that the small number of acres planted in organic crops is an example of a missed opportunity for rural America.

Rural America cannot afford to miss these opportunities. Do you have niche farmers in your community/area? What are you doing to support them?