Organic crop production is bigger than ever conceived just a few years ago to meet demand for organic crops to be sold in supermarkets and organic grocery stores across the nation.
Examples of operation size was noted in a recent article of Capital Press, which reports about West Coast agriculture.
Nash’s Organic Produce on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula is a 400-acre operation that sells meats, grain and produce through “community-supported agriculture, farmers’ markets and a farm store,” Capital Press writer Steve Brown reported. At 400 acres, it is not big enough to provide that national organic supply of produce.
“Some people consider us to be a large-scale organic farm, and we’re certainly not (if we’re) compared to some farms,” Kia Armstrong, the sales manager is quoted as saying. “Less than 100 acres are in vegetables any given year. Other acreage is in grain, pasture, fallow field and wildlife habitat. Since we have a lot of acreage, we’re able to be diversified and balanced. If we had only five to 10 acres, we couldn’t do that.”
Efficiency and having a wide number of crops requires really big operations and is behind pushing organic farm size. Earthbound Farm, which is based in San Juan Bautista, Calif., started with 2.5 acres in 1984, and today it includes 40,000 crop acres owned or managed. It is the nation’s largest organic produce grower, Brown wrote.
Many organic farming operations are growing in scale as operators use new technology that qualifies as organic under the Agriculture Department’s National Organic Program letter of the law. Some organic activists don’t appreciate the way some larger operations squeeze under the NOP rules but aren’t operating in the manner of previous small-scale operations using mainly labor intensive cropping.
Changes in organic production are what is allowing national chains of grocery marketers to offer produce in the volume being sold today.