Organic food production is a job creator.
According to a new economic study released on April 25 at the Organic Trade Association's Policy Conference in Washington, DC, producing U.S. foods organically creates thousands more jobs than if that food were produced using conventional agricultural methods.
The report, 2010 Impacts of the U.S. Organic Foods Industry on the U.S. Economy, which shows the organic food industry generatedmore than 500,000 American jobs in 2010, builds on data released by OTA earlier that week revealing the overall U.S. organic market in 2011 surpassed $31 billion for the first time.
"This report sends a strong message that doing what's good for the environment and what's good for industry economics are not mutually exclusive," Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) said in a press release. "The organic food processing industry is creating jobs, stimulating our economy and delivering the products that consumers increasingly demand. This report is only the latest testament on why supporting organic is a no-brainer.
The report, produced for OTA by Washington, D.C.-based M+R Strategic Services, showed that for every $1 billion in retail sales of organic products, 21,000 more jobs were created throughout the economy. In addition, the use of organically produced ingredients resulted in the creation of 21 percent more jobs than would have been generated if the food industry had relied solely on conventional farms for its ingredients.
The study compared labor and input use on a wide range of conventional and organic farms, and attributed the job-creation differences largely to greater labor intensity on organic farms, smaller farm size, the need for an organic certification industry and reliance on smaller retail outlets.
"This report and OTA's 2012 Organic Industry Survey released this week reinforce the positive contributions of the organic sector to U.S. agriculture and our economy, and emphasize how important it is to maintain funding for programs in the farm bill that encourage the spread of organic farming," said Christine Bushway, executive director and chief executive officer for the OTA. "The message is clear-federal organic food and agriculture programs are job-creation programs."