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24.02.2017

Farmers increasingly going organic to meet rising demand

Even though transitioning from traditional to organic farming methods can be costly, Colorado farmers are increasingly doing so in order to meet rising demand for organic produce.
Organic farmland currently covers more than 155,000 acres statewide, up from 100,000 acres in 2011
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Produce that carries the U.S.D.A.’s “certified organic” stickers goes a long way to ensuring financial success
Making the transition from conventional farming methods to organic ones can be costly and obtaining organic certification takes about three years and comes with its own expenses. These factors have given organic farming a reputation for being expensive, so many farmers transition slowly, but producers say that technological innovations have helped them grow and protect their crops more efficiently and less expensively than in previous years, even while using certified organic methods.
Produce that carries the U.S.D.A.’s “certified organic” stickers goes a long way to ensuring financial success, said Becca Jablonski, an assistant professor and food systems extension economist at Colorado State University.
As more and more research is done, we can use products on the plant that aren’t chemical, said Kaylee Armstrong of Abundant Life Organic Farms in Hotchkiss, Colo. “People complain about costs and say organic is so much more expensive. We actually increase our prices to meet with conventional growers.
Jordan Hungenberg, co-owner of the Hungenberg farm in Greeley, said market trends for organic produce isn’t going anywhere.
Hungenberg Produce dedicated about 60 acres to growing carrots using organic farming methods last year and plans to triple its planting of organically grown carrots next season.
Jablonski said there are programs available to assist farmers with the costs involved in transitioning to certified organic methods.


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