Jan 27, 2021
Organic certifications grow slightly to 45K farms and businesses
Stephen Kloosterman

U.S.-recognized organic certifications didn’t decrease in the old year, even growing slightly.

The USDA’s National Organic Program released an annual count of farms and businesses certified to be organic, according to its Organic INTEGRITY Database.

The number of certified organic operations worldwide grew to 45,578 in 2020, according to an email newsletter from the NOP. Of that number, 28,454 – or more than 62% – were located in the United States.

Worldwide, the number of certifications appear to be up 1.5% from the 44,896 the USDA reported earlier for 2019. Domestically, the increase of about 200 certifications from 28,257 in 2019 is less than one percent.

At the state level, California remains the leader with more than 5,000 certified operations, according to the newsletter. States in the Great Lakes Region, Pacific Northwest, and Iowa continue to round out the top ten.

map chart organic operations
Graphic: USDA NOP

“Farmers and consumers choose the organic option for many reasons,” the NOP wrote in the newsletter. “Our goal at the National Organic Program is to protect that choice by taking the profit out of fraud and ensuring organic integrity from farm to table, so consumers trust the organic label. One measure of that trust is continued growth in the number of farms and businesses receiving USDA organic certification.”

Agencies that certify farms and businesses as organic annually submit a set of basic facts regarding all certified operations to the Organic Integrity Database. The database also includes many optional fields, like acreage, that can aid in oversight and enforcement, according to the newsletter.

The USDA’s count comes on the heels of reports of growth in sales of organic produce and in the organic vegetable category specifically.

Move over, tomatoes. Lettuce is the new top organic vegetable: USDA

Organic produce sales an $8.5B industry in 2020, up 14%


Stephen Kloosterman is the managing editor of Organic Grower.

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