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Organic agriculture in North America 2014

Current status

In North America, more than 3 million hectares of farmland were managed organically in 2012. Of these, 2.2 million were in the United States (2011 data) and 0.8 million in Canada, representing approximately 0.7 percent of the total agricultural area in the region and 8 percent of the world’s organic agricultural land. 
The overall U.S. organic market continued to climb in 2012, reaching 31.5 billion US dollars and experiencing double-digit growth of 10.3 percent, according to OTA’s 2013 Organic Industry Survey. Organic food sales rose 10.2 percent to reach 29.023 billion US dollars. This compares to conventional food sales growth of 3.7 percent. Organic food’s share has grown to 4.3 percent of total food sales, while organic non-food sales account for 0.6 percent of total comparable non-food sales. The U.S. organic industry once again experienced a major milestone in 2013 with the signing of an organic equivalence arrangement—this time with Japan. It marks the first U.S. organic arrangement in Asia and the first ever without organic standards exceptions. Another highlight during 2013 was the official recognition by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack of the distinct needs of the organic sector. 

In Canada, the total area in certified production (including both annual and perennial crops), forages and pasture, is estimated at more than 830’000 hectares. In addition to the agricultural land, there is a considerable area of maple forest in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick, as well as areas used for the collection of wild blueberries. In 2013, the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) released the first comprehensive study of the Canadian organic market and consumer, based on 2012 data. COTA’s new study has found that the value of the Canadian organic food market, at 3 billion Canadian dollars, is also a major source of organic products to the world, with exports worth approximately 458 million Canadian dollars. It has now been confirmed that the Canadian Organic Standards will be reviewed and amended over the next two years. It is expected that the newly revised Canadian Organic Standard will be published in August 2015.

Source: The World of Organic Agriculture 2014



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