A Tale of Two Farms

Organic farm outperforms conventional farm 2 to 1

In 2010 my family farms in NW Iowa began the move from conventional chemical-based farming to chemical-free organic farming. To begin, we transitioned our Farm 751 to comply with the National Organic Program for USDA organic certification.

Net Operating Income Doubled – 2009 was the last year Farm 751 was conventional. 2010 and 2011 were the transitions years focused on soil rehabilitation with less profitability. 2012 was the first certified organic year for Farm 751. The bottom line, Farm 751 achieved a remarkable doubling of our net operating income (NOI) over the following eight years. An average 47% increase in productivity.

This chart compares our organic Farm 751 with our remaining conventional farm 753. Both farms have similar high quality CSR2 (corn suitability rating), similar soil profiles and similar climate.

Appreciation 4% – Farmland values are tracked by Iowa State University Agricultural and Rural Development survey. Their data goes back to 1950 tracking the increase or decrease in Iowa farmland value by county and a state wide cumulative average. This chart shows the average annual increase in farmland value from 2010 through 2018.

The demand for organic food continues to grow well beyond the ability of US organic farmers to keep up. When the National Organic Program was passed into law in 1990 the organic market was only $1B. Today is has grown to over $50B and is mainstream in food retailers across America.

The result, higher crop premiums and higher profitability with average annual growth in organic food demand of 3.5% per year.

It takes know how and a strong network of organic farmers. That is what Sustainable Farm Partners offers. Click here to start a conversation.