A Profile of Organic Corn Production in the Midwest and Northeast

Caroline Brock, Douglas Jackson-Smith, and Subbu KumarappanOrganic corn

Organic Corn Production is Growing.

Organic corn acreage in the United States increased by more than 55% between 2011 and 2016, driven largely by demand from organic livestock producers, particularly dairies (McBride, et. al 2015). 

Organic Corn Production will Continue to Grow.

Consumer demand for organic food has steadily grown by double-digits annually for several decades In 2016, organic grain imports totaled $10 million, indicating U.S. production has room to continue expanding (Greene and Vilorio 2016). 

More Data on Current Management Practices Will Help. 

Aside from USDA census data, relatively little is known about organic grain farms and their management practices. Additional information will be help guide education and research initiatives to foster continued growth in the region’s organic grain production.

We Surveyed Organic Corn Growers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana.  

Early in 2018, we mailed a survey to all organic corn growers in these four states, which collectively represent one-third of all U.S. organic corn growers and produce about 20% of the nation’s organic corn.(USDA 2017)

Survey questions covered overall farm operation, specific field practices, economic data, and farm management decision-making, particularly concerning soils. Of the 1,495 farms still actively growing corn, we received 859 usable responses (57.4% response rate, margin of error is 1.7%).

Key findings are summarized here: