Streamlining Organic Trade

Streamlining Organic Trade

In 2011 there were over 90 thousand certified organic crop acres in Washington state. The organic crops raised on these acres covered a wide range, from tree fruits, which had a twenty percent share of all organic acreage in the state, to vegetables, small fruit and nuts, herbs, grains, beans and oilseeds, and forage. In addition there are over thirty-three organic dairies in the state. All in all resulting in $244.6 million in total organic farmgate sales in Washington. Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that organic products certified in the United States or European Union may now be sold as organic in either market under a new United States and the European Union equivalency partnership. Dan Newhouse, Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture comments on the new organics partnership.

NEWHOUSE: It should be a very good thing for our organic growers and producers. We in the state of Washington have really one of the premier organic industries in the country. One of the not only better ones but also one of the first ones that really got off and running. This kind of an agreement, although Europe has not typically been one of our biggest markets for most products, this kind of an arrangement between the EU and the United States provides lots of new opportunities for the kind of growers we have here in the state. So, it’s pretty exciting.

It certainly is. It’s estimated that U.S. organics sales to the EU could nearly double during the first few years of the arrangement. Currently, twenty-eight percent of the nation’s consumers report that they buy organic products on a weekly basis.

I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network. 

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