Organic Farmers Fairing Slightly Better During Trade Wars
Organic farmers across the country say they may be fairing better than their conventional neighbors who have suffered during the trade war, but they aren't totally immune from rocky markets.
There are many reasons farmers have switched 5 million acres of production to organic in recent years, but they often boil down to one thing. Annie Schwagel, a Minnesota farmer, grows food grain corn and soybeans, as well as wheat and field peas on her Minnesota farm, and she says her shift to organic has paid off.
Though organic producers haven't lost markets as dramatically as conventional growers have, they say the two sectors remain intertwined. Wisconsin farmer, Kriss Marion, grows organic vegetables, which largely end up in local markets and so demand has remained strong even as downward price pressure increases. But she says all areas of organic are not the same, and even some organic neighbors are struggling.
Despite growing pressures across the organic production spectrum, 2019 is still likely to be a banner year for the space. According to the Mercaris Annual Acerage Report, farmers will harvest 3.1 Million acres of organic grain alone this year, up 7% from 2018, despite weather and trade issues. But Marion says she remains concerned about food security, warning that low prices are as dangerous for consumers as they are for cash-strapped farmers.
Though organic farmland continues to represent less than 1% of total u-s acreage, the growth in consumer interest in organic remains extremely high, growing 7% between 2017 and 2018 to more than $50 billion.
Report By: Sarah Mock