Organic markets for field crops remain strong
Organic field crop producers of all sizes have experienced very good prices and demand for their 2012 crops. Attend a December 3 organic market meeting to hear the 2013 outlook.
Organic field crop production is a small but very important part of the agricultural diversity in Michigan. According to the 2007 census, over 40,000 acres of organic crops are raised in Michigan on 539 farms with a value of $3.6 million. Organic livestock and vegetables add another $28 million. Many buyers and producers feared that the weak economy since 2007 would have a negative effect on organic demand; however, demand appears to have remained strong and continues to grow. The Organic Trade Associated reports that U.S. organic sales have actually increased from $20 billion in 2008 to $28 billion in 2010.
At the start of 2012, the contract prices for organic crops were higher than 2011. Throughout the year the prices became even stronger. There is not a central “board of trade” that determines organic prices, so producers and buyers need to have good communication and understanding of the supply needs and production ability.
One avenue to support communication is an annual gathering of Michigan organic field crop producers and the major organic field crop buyers. This year’s event is being organized by Michigan State University Extension on Monday, December 3, at Cobb Hall, 10399 State Road, Millington, Mich. (view map). Eight buyers have been invited to share their view of the organic outlook and what plans they have for purchases in 2013. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. There is no cost and no advance registration required.