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USDA invests in organic research

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According to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),
organic food sales in America have
quadrupled since 1997, growing like weeds from $3.6 billion to $24.6 billion in annual sales. The agency projects that the organic sector will continue to grow at a steady yearly rate of 19% until 2013.

Unfortunately, the demand for organic foods in the United States has been rising at a far faster rate than the supply. With certified organic acreage at a premium in America, U.S. organic producers have lost ground to their international counterparts, which can usually offer cheaper products due to lower labor and input costs.

To encourage organic production at home, the USDA recently awarded $19
million to American universities to
research and improve organic agricultural development. The investment is part of the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” campaign, which was designed to “break down structural barriers that have inhibited local food systems from thriving.” The USDA grants will benefit 30 universities that are tasked with investigating how American farmers can create a more sustainable supply of organic ingredients to meet the rapidly expanding demand.

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