Document Type


Publication Date



crop prices, organic farming, commodities, soybeans, grains


Price premiums for organic crops drew the attention of an increasing number of farmers throughout the 1990s. Premiums contributed to the expansion of U.S. farmland managed under organic farming systems during that time period. Expansion of organic farming systems continued at least through 2001. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service's most recent data on organic farming systems, U.S. farmers and ranchers added almost one million acres of certified organic farmland between 1997 and 2001, an increase of 74 percent. Over that same time frame, certified organic cropland increased by 53 percent). The USDA implemented national organic standards for organic production and processing in October 2002, which could facilitate further growth in the organic farming sector. As part of the sustainable agriculture research program in the Economics Department at South Dakota State University (SDSU), 'organic' and 'conventional' crop prices have been compared for nearly a decade. This pamphlet serves as an update of price comparisons through 2003 and a final conclusion of the price series comparison, which we will no longer continue. The pamphlet also contains brief reference to another source of organic price data (see the appendix). The information in this pamphlet should be of use to farmers and others considering management changes and investments related to organic agriculture, as well as to policy makers.


Economic Pamphlet 2004-1