BERKELEY, Calif. — Berkeley Food Institute at the University of California, Berkeley has released an important new report on the role of state governments in the growth of the organic sector. Introduced at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the report is a survey of twenty-one states across four distinct regions in the United States.
Organic agriculture is a rapidly growing sector of the food economy due to its proven economic, environmental, and health benefits. As a result, consumer demand for organic products has outstripped supply. This report seeks to highlight the tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, facing state departments of agriculture as they respond to market and farmer demand to increase organic acreage.
State departments of agriculture play a crucial intermediary role in the development of the American organic agriculture and products industry. Some act as certifiers, reporting to the USDA’s National Organic Program. Others provide information and resources while private sector actors are official certifiers. Study authors Laura Driscoll and Nina F. Ichikawa compiled data on the availability of services for farmers, as well as unique characteristics of each state, through personal interviews, literature reviews, state government documents, and other sources.
The report also makes recommendations designed to improve services for existing organic farmers and to support prospective organic farmers in order to increase overall organic production to keep up with demand.
“As organic demand grows in leaps and bounds, state governments can play a crucial role in helping farmers transition to organic and provide needed technical or marketing support. This report provides insights and recommendations to help build opportunities for growers to meet the escalating consumer demand for organic products,” said L. Ann Thrupp, BFI Executive Director.
The full report and executive summary can be accessed here: https://food.berkeley.ed
—Berkeley Food Institute
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