Organic Corn Profile

Revised November, 2018.

Overview

According to the 2016 Certified Organic Survey, which is the most recent, between 2015 to 2016, the number of certified organic farms in the country increased 11 percent to 14,217, and the number of certified acres increased 15 percent to 5.0 million. U.S. organic corn acreage increased from 166,841 in 2015 to 213,934 in 2016. The majority of this production was used in organic feed rations and the remainder was used in food products.  More than 90% of organic corn production is used domestically.  Future growth in organic corn production will depend on increased demands from both organic livestock producers and final consumers.

Regulations

In 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established a set of national standards that food labeled "organic" must follow.  As a result, organic corn must be raised without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.  To ensure that appropriate production methods are being applied at the farm level, government-approved inspectors evaluate organic operations to validate that approved USDA organic practices are being used.  However, organic growers with less than $5,000 in sales do not need to be certified.  In addition companies that elevate, transport, or process organic grains must also be certified by the USDA.

Production

The majority of organic corn production occurs in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and New York.  Organic corn was grown in 37 states on 213,934 acres in 2016.  Thus, corn is the second largest organic grain/seed crop after organic wheat (336,550).

In 2016, Wisconsin was the largest producer of organic corn with 27,855 acres.  Iowa ranked second with 29,684 acres, and Minnesota was third with 28,524 acres.

Sources

National Organic Grain and Feedstuffs, AMS, USDA.
National Organic Program, Ag Marketing Service (AMS), USDA.
Organic Agriculture, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA.
Certified Organic Survey 2016 Summary - USDA NASS