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US Organic Food Sales Reach Record $39 Billion in 2014

 2014 was another record year for the US organic industry, as it grew 11.3% with sales of $39.1 billion, according to Organic Trade Association's (OTA) 2015 Organic Industry Survey.

Despite tight supplies of organic ingredients (there aren't enough organic farms to meet demand),  organic food sales reached $35.9 billion (up 11%) and non-food sales reached $3.2 billion (up almost 14%) - the biggest annual rise in 6 years.

In 1997, when tracking began, sales were $3.4 billion, accounting for only 1% of total US food sales. Since then, organic food has consistently surpassed the average 3% growth rate for total US food supplies, and as of 2014, provides almost 5% of all food.

But organic provides 12% of all produce, doubling its share during the past decade. Fruits and vegetables comprise 36% of organic food sales, up 12% in 2014 to $13 billion. Organic dairy sales are up almost 11% to $5.46 billion.

"The majority of American households in all regions of the country now make organic a part of their supermarket and retail purchases - from 68% to almost 80% of households in southern states, to nearly 90% on the West Coast and in New England," says OTA. 

US Certified Operations Rise 5%

There are 19,474 certified organic operations in the US, up 5% in 2014, according to the Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Globally, 27,814 operations meet USDA organic standards, rising 250% since 2002, when tracking began.

In great news, almost half of all organic purchases were made  within 100 miles of the farms where they were grown.

But are the biggest operations really organic? Watchdog group Cornucopia Institute thinks not. They took high resolution aerial photos of some of the largest certified organic livestock operations and found not a single chicken, cow or pig outside at 14 of them. Satellite imagery found the same.

The USDA insists the massive operations - which produce milk, meat and eggs - are "in good standing" with their organic certifiers and that a photo shows just a "single moment in time." 

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