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Abstract

Rapid growth of the organic agricultural sector in the U.S. and implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's national organic standards in 2002 have lead to concerns that organic production could become increasingly concentrated on larger U.S. and international farms, disrupting the market access of small domestic organic producers. However, data on the U.S. organic agriculture show that the smallest-scale farms continue to hold a small but stable piece of the organic sector and that U.S. organic farm size has grown slowly. The amount of land under organic production worldwide is growing rapidly, particularly in developing countries producing commodities for export, many of which are not widely grown in the U.S. Small-scale producers using direct markets have likely been least impacted from increased organic imports, while producers of organic oilseeds and cotton have likely been most impacted. Federal and State government agencies and the private sector have launched initiatives to sustain small-farm participation in the U.S. organic sector. Programs to better serve organic producers in the U.S. and to differentiate organic and non-organic imports and exports are being developed at the federal level.

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