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A Guide to Organic Farming Degrees and Careers

A growing industry, organic farming offers a sustainable alternative to traditional farming. Discover why organic agriculture is gaining traction in higher ed.

The future of conventional farming doesn't exactly inspire optimism. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for farmers will decline 1% over the next decade. This year threw that projection into even more uncertainty, with the COVID-19 pandemic greatly affecting agriculture ⁠— not to mention nearly every other industry.

Despite these unsettling predictions, one sector in the agriculture industry has maintained a steady upward trajectory for several decades: organic farming.

From 2011 to 2017, the number of organic farms in the U.S. increased by almost 75%. By the end of this period, there were nearly 16,000 organic farms.

Still, the percentage of organic farms in the U.S. remains relatively low compared with the agriculture industry at large. Of the 900 million acres of farmland in 2017, about 9 million acres grew certified organic food, meaning that only 1% of the country's farmland was dedicated to producing certified organic products.

As the agriculture industry faces a turbulent future, organic farming continues its upward trend. And consumers aren't the only ones investing in organic products. In 2018, Congress passed an $867 billion farm bill, which allocates research funds to organic farming.