California leads nation in organic agriculture production

Mar 09, 2011
California leads nation in organic agriculture production
Lettuce and grapes are the highest value organic crops in California.

California dominates the nation in organic production of agricultural commodities, according to a nationwide survey of organic producers that was analyzed by a UC Davis agricultural economist.

The survey found that California leads the United States in the number of organic farms, the amount of land in organic production and in organic sales. It also showed that the state is home to 19 percent of the nation’s organic farms and accounts for 36 percent of the country’s organic sales.

The survey analysis was conducted by Karen Klonsky, a UC Cooperative Extension economist in UC Davis’ Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Klonsky noted that, in terms of organic production, the state is most prominent in fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries, with lettuce and grapes being the highest-revenue organic crops. In fact, California leads the nation in all major crop categories except field crops. (Field crops include corn, wheat, cotton, soybeans and rice.)

The survey also revealed that California produces more than 90 percent of all U.S. organic sales for 14 different commodities, including 99 percent of the nation’s organic walnuts, lemons, figs and artichokes and 100 percent of its organic almonds and dates.

California is also the top producer of organic livestock and livestock products, with broiler chickens and milk from cows the most important livestock commodities.

Klonsky’s analysis examined data from the 2008 Organic Production Survey, the first nationwide survey of organic agriculture in the . It was administered by the National Agricultural Statistics Service as a follow-up to the 2007 Census of Agriculture.

“About one-third of the farms classified themselves as mixed operations with both organic and conventional production,” wrote Klonsky. “This implies that the organic market is an important opportunity for diversification for many conventional farms.”

She noted that the vast majority of survey respondents said they planned to maintain or expand their organic production, indicating that this subsector of agricultural remained financially healthy despite the nation’s economic downturn. There was no indication, however, that many producers who had both organic and conventional operations had plans to become entirely organic.

“This is an indication that organic continues to be a niche market, albeit a profitable one,” Klonsky said.

Explore further: Noted researchers warn that biomedical research system in US is unsustainable

More information: Her analysis can be downloaded from ARE Update, Vol. 14 No. 2 at: agecon.ucdavis.edu/extension/update/.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Consumers willing to pay more for locally grown apples

Sep 20, 2010

A 2008 study found that organic apples represented 4.6% of total apple sales in the United States, up from 3.5% in 2007. In Vermont, apples have been the most important fruit crop for many years, playing an important role ...

New test for detecting fake organic milk

Mar 02, 2009

Scientists in Germany are reporting development of a new, more effective method to determine whether milk marketed as "organic" is genuine or just ordinary milk mislabeled to hoodwink consumers. Their report ...

The future of organic ornamental plants

Dec 11, 2009

Whether plants are grown for food or ornamental use, conventional agricultural production methods have the same environmental impact. Pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers can find their way into ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

23 hours ago

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...