On Wednesday, May 14th at 1:00 PM EDT, the USDA’s National Organic Program Specialist Betsy Rakola will host a Google+ Hangout to discuss strategies for growing U.S. organic production. During this Hangout, you’ll hear from farmers, organic certifiers, researchers, and community organizations at the forefront of todays’ organic market.
- What are the marketplace opportunities for farmers who are interested in organic certification?
- What challenges do farmers face when converting from conventional to organic production?
- What can the USDA do to increase the number of certified organic operations in the U.S.?
The demand for organic food in the United States continues to grow, creating new job and economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and food processors. There are more certified organic farms, ranches, and food processors each year, totaling more than 18,500 domestically in 2013. To keep up with consumer demand, though, more farms need to enter the organic market. The USDA supports organic production through market and price data, crop insurance, research and Extension, financial, and technical assistance.
Organic certification allows farmers, ranchers, and food processors to sell and label their food as organic in the United States. In 2012, the USDA created the Organic Literacy Initiative to explain the certification process and all of our resources for the organic literacy. During the last two years, over 30,000 USDA staff completed online training on organic agriculture. In 2014, we launched an organic portal at www.usda.gov/organic. Come join the conversation to learn about the wealth of resources for organic producers and handlers.