Organic agriculture offers additional economic opportunities

THE ORGANIC agriculture industry is booming in the U.S. and around the globe, despite the fact that conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are as safe and as healthy as their organic counterparts. Some people might mistakenly perceive the organic industry as an opponent or adversary to conventional methods of farming, but the truth of the matter is that organics offer additional opportunities for those in agriculture. This fact is especially true for rural, family-owned farmers that might not be able to produce the same volume as larger operations, which are needed to meet the demands of a growing global population.

The USDA recently announced that the U.S. has entered into a partnership with Switzerland whereby each country’s organics can be sold in the other country’s markets. It promises to encourage growth in each nation’s organic industry. In the U.S., the organic industry is already one that boasts over 19,000 businesses and nearly $40 billion in retail sales. Surely some of those numbers include the increase in purchases that SNAP participants have made at farmers’ markets and the like in the last few years. In short, if you provide healthy, tasty fruits and vegetables, consumers will buy them.

While the organic industry may never be able to produce the volume of conventional producers (and thus meet consumer demand of our growing populace), this burgeoning niche market offers additional opportunities for those in ag sectors.


column by MIKE MARTIN

BIO: Michael Martin of Martin Law Office in Lakeland specializes in agriculture and environmental legal representation. A native of Polk County, Mike attended college at Sewanee in Tennessee, before obtaining a doctorate in law from the University of Florida and has tried numerous cases nationwide since that time. Mike also serves as the director of the FFA Foundation and is the author of the novel, The Crestfallen Rose.

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