NM's Organic Industry Grows, But Still Minuscule

October 26, 2017

It's a mantra you hear constantly from those who love everything organic: There must be more locally-grown organic veggies in our co-ops and grocery stores in Albuquerque and throughout the state.



While that makes for a good soundbite, it's ignorant of facts and reality. And that reality is that in the scheme of things, there are a minuscule amount of organically grown anything in the state.


The total value of certified organic agricultural products sold by New Mexico's farmers last year was $45 million, up from $32.1 million in 2015, and a 40 percent increase. But put another way, that comes out to 0.048 percent of the state's $92 billion economy.


So if you're looking to find mountains of locally grown organic veggies in the state, you wont.


That's because there were only 182 acres of U.S. Department of Agriculture certified organic cropland on which vegetables were grown in the state last year. That acreage produced $2 million worth of veggies, according to the U.S. DA's 2016 Survey of Organic Farming that was released in September.


Nationally, sales of organic products surged by 23 percent in 2016, to $7.6 billion from $6.2 billion the previous year. New Mexico's sales represent 0.6 percent of all organic sales.


California was the nation's biggest organic producer, accounting for $2.9 billion in sales, or 39 percent of all U.S. sales.


So why won't you find mountains of locally grown certified organic veggies in New Mexico?


Because the state's three largest largest organic products are hay and cattle.

Hay accounted for $5.8 million in the state's organic sales last year, while cattle accounted for $3.1 million.


There were 75 certified organic farms in the state in 2016 for a total of 94,143 acres. Of that acreage, 30,480 acres were for cropland and 63,663 were pastureland.


All crops in the state - including veggies, grains, fruits and nuts - accounted for $9.3 million of the state's organic sales last year.


Here are some stats from the USDA's survey:


Crop                      Acreage                                                  Production Value


Garlic                    4 acres          22,800 pounds,                     $49,918

Bell peppers         10 acres        44,300 pounds,                     $27,512

Lettuce                  3 acres         26,700 pounds,                     $28,688

Squash                 10 acres        94,700 pounds                      $60,938

Tomatoes               8 acres         NA                                         $75,168

Berries                  20 acres        NA                                         $143,393

Pecans                 71 acres        129,741 pounds                    $427,085

Apples                  38 acres        686,135 pounds                    $234,982


* Other veggies 113 acres 749,100 pounds $1.5 million


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Please reload

Who's Behind ABQReport

Independent Journalism

I've been a reporter, writer and editor for 37 years. I'm dedicated to honest, fair and hard-hitting reporting. I'm not conservative or liberal, but am just a reporter who tries to get to the truth at any given point in time. I don't believe in pulling punches or being a lap dog because that serves no one. A free and aggressive press is essential to human liberty. That's why the Founding Fathers put a free press in the Constitution. So on this site you'll get a variety of news, fearless opinion, analysis, humor, satire and commentary. It's kind of like a free-for-all. My motto is "Without fear and without favor."  But good journalism takes time and money, so I hope you will contribute what you can to these efforts by clicking on the "Donate" button above. I could use your help. Thanks, Dennis Domrzalski.

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Google+ Social Icon
Follow ABQReport

Also Featured In

    Like what you read? Donate now and help me provide fresh news and analysis for my readers   

© 2023 by "This Just In". Proudly created with Wix.com

Search By Tags