On-farm land management strategies and production challenges in United States organic agricultural systems

Isaac Kwadwo Mpanga, Russell Tronstad, Jessica Guo, David Shaner LeBauer, Omololu John Idowu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The need to reduce the negative impacts of agriculture on the environment and the consumer demands for food produced without synthetic chemical inputs have led to organic agriculture production systems. The United States (US) commands about half of the market share of organic products worldwide and is home to half of the world's organic farmers, but limited information is available on trends of on-farm land-use practices and challenges in organic crop production systems. This study utilizes the agricultural production surveys from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 2008 to 2019 to investigate state and national trends in organic farm area, number, and sales, and to evaluate national trends in on-farm land-use practices and challenges facing US organic production. From 2008 to 2019, the number of certified organic farms, land area, and sales increased by 5, 6, and 12%, respectively. The use of green and animal manures is the most common land-use practice in certified organic crop production systems. The number of farms using the on-farm organic practices remained the same or increased steadly except organic mulch/compost which declined. However, all the practices declined proportionally, except rotational grazing which recorded an increase in 2019. The most significant primary challenges faced by certified organic farmers are related to regulations of organic practices and production costs which worsen over time. United States certified organic production has the potential for expansion in terms of farm numbers, land area, markets, and increased adoption of regenerative agricultural practices. However, for this to occur, efforts involving farm-level research and policy reviews with direct farmer involvement are needed to address these primary challenges facing organic farmers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100097
JournalCurrent Research in Environmental Sustainability
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Organic agriculture
  • Regenerative agricultural practices
  • Soil health
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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