Facebook Twitter Google RSS

Apr 5, 2012

Big Organic Operations Say That Size Matters, Offers Efficiencies

On 5 April 2012 Capital Press published an article on the ongoing debate between big organic operations and smaller organic farmers. The bigger operations believe that their size allows them advantages resulting from business efficiencies. Smaller farmers and the organic watchdog group Cornucopia Institute argue that the bigger operations can not possibly be following all of the regulations as this would be too labor-intensive. They believe that it simply is not possible for an operation with 10,000 cows to provide the necessary acreage and pasture rotation for this many cows.

The reason for this debate is that the organic food sector is growing and profitable. In 2010 there were an estimated 18,000 certified farms in the United States. Organic food sales were approximately US$26.7 billion. Smaller farmers are concerned that the larger farms will eliminate their opportunities.

In some cases, the larger farms are a compilation of many smaller farms. An example of this Earthbound Farm, based in San Juan Bautista. It began as a 2.5-acre garden in 1984. In 1986, it became the first company to successfully market prewashed, packaged salad for retail sale. Earthbound now has 40,000 crop acres and is one of the country's largest organic produce growers. According to director of communications Samantha Cabaluna, "it really is 200 different farms ranging from 5 acres to 680, each independently certified organic. ... Some we own and manage ourselves, others are long-term partnerships."

Sakuma Brothers in Burlington, Washington was originally a 40 acre farm that now has 1,100 acres in production. It grows strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and apples both organically and conventionally. According to Steve Sakuma, one of the owners, the farm balances the two different crops based solely on a for-profit analysis.

For more see: Brown, Steve. "Organic activists say size matters," Capital Press, 5 April 2012.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
View all posts by Margaret →


GR2's Pinterest Shareboard "Global View - Spectacular Spaces, Renewal Spaces"


©2009-2014 GR2 Global LLC

All photos used for general educational purposes and authors/owners given credit. Please send an email to info@gr2global.com to discuss any content or copyright issues.