2 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2016
    1. And yet, in the past five years, the 15 acres of open space have seen plenty of activity. In that time, more than half a dozen farmers have put their hands to a plow in an ill-fated attempt at organic farming. Only one of them is still standing. The same fate of those failed farmers has been repeated all across the county under an agricultural program meant to encourage and support organic farming by providing nearly $1 million in capital expenditures, temporary lease rate reductions, organic certification assistance, weed maintenance and farmer education courses.
    2. According to surveys from the United States Department of Agriculture, organic acreage declined nationally by 10.8 percent from 2008 (4.1 million acres) to 2014 (3.7 million acres). Colorado saw larger declines of 34 percent during that same time, from 153,981 acres in 2008 to 115,116 acres in 2014. A number of reasons have been cited by different experts and farmers, including the recession and a change in USDA methodology that counts fewer growers as organic since many small operations do not pursue certification. The most commonly cited reason is cost: The resource-intense nature of production eats away at profit margins and makes organic less attractive during a time of high conventional profits. "The incentive to grow organically wasn't enough as conventional grown commodities were priced at very profitable levels" during that time, said Bill Meyer, director of the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service mountain region.