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04/25/2012 03:32 PM     print story email story  

Organic Agriculture Creates 21% More Jobs Than Conventional

SustainableBusiness.com News

Earlier this week we reported the U.S. organic industry continued its path of growth in 2011, rising 9.5% to $31.5 billion in sales.

Today, we learned that producing US food through organic agriculture also creates thousands more jobs - 21% more - than food produced using conventional, monoculture,  chemical-dependent methods. 

In 2010, the organic food industry created over 500,000 jobs in the US, according to the report, "2010 Impacts of the U.S. Organic Foods Industry on the U.S. Economy.

"This report sends a strong message that doing good for the environment and for industry economics are not mutually exclusive," says Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA). "This report is only the latest testament on why supporting organic is a no-brainer."  

28,000 jobs are created across the economy for every $1 billion in retail sales of organic products, states the report. 

Why? Because organic farms are less mechanized. They require more people to work the land. Since they are smaller farms, they rely on smaller suppliers, often sell to smaller retailers, and spend money on organic certification. 

The release of this report comes as Congress begins to shape the next Farm Bill, the major food and agriculture policy legislation in the US.

The Farm Bill traditionally supports mostly Big Ag and gives a modicum of support to expanding the organic industry. Organic Trade Association members are in Washington this week for "Organic Week in D.C." where they are visiting congressional offices to voice their support for these programs.

It also comes as the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expected to approve corn produced by Dow AgroSciences that's been genetically engineered to resist the poisonous herbicide 2,4-D, the key ingredient in Agent Orange.

Is ALEC involved here too?



Reader Comments (1)

Author:
Jan SlowMoneyFarm

Date Posted:
04/26/12 04:37 PM

Certainly it takes more work to farm but there's also another factor - many of these rely on free wages, not full time jobs and certainly not at what is considered a "living wage" (with benefits) by much of the public. As a small operation trying to find where exactly there are 100 people in three states ready to actually buy a farm share, the growing we're doing is in the hope that there are some folks out there to buy. So far, that isn't the case with outdoor eggs. So yes, work is there, but in many cases it's work for nothing - and until there is consumer demand to sign up there certainly aren't additional paid jobs. We're not unique there - many places rely on volunteers, interns etc. and can't operate without it. Organic certification is, I feel, a waste as it doesn't mean what many people think it does. That doesn't mean there's not many organic operations that aren't certified. Food choices - 300million people make them three times per day. Sustainable business depends on it...of all sizes and in all locations.

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