Organic farming a growth business upstate

US - New York's organic farming industry is continuing to grow as more people become aware of health issues and food quality, officials say.
calendar icon 29 January 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
Ten years ago, there were about 75 organic farms in New York State, said Kate Mendenhall, projects coordinator for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York.

Now there are more than 530, she said.

In 2005, consumer sales reached $13.8 billion, about 2.5% of total U.S. food sales, according to the Organic Trade Association.

Since 1997, sales of organic foods have grown 15% to 21% a year, the association said.

Doug Bratt has been operating a 400-acre organic dairy farm in Lysander, north of Syracuse, since 1980. He has about 140 cows.

"At that time, people said I was crazy and I was going to fail," Bratt, 49, said Friday at a farming conference. "I've proven them wrong."

Joanna Green, extension associate with Cornell University's small farms program, said consumer demand is outstripping supply, especially for organic milk.

Dairy farmers are switching to organic because of the profits, according to Green. She said buyers pay $28 per 100 pounds of organic milk compared with $14 per 100 for inorganic.

Source: Daily News
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