In June 2019, there were 15.8 million hens laying certified organic eggs in the United States, and in 2017, organic sales totaled nearly $50 billion. Between 2011 and 2018, organic acreage increased by 20% to reach over 5 million acres of land. Organic farming and organic egg production is big business in the U.S., but one that comes with its own unique challenges.
Making the Switch to Organic Farming
Farmers and producers making the move towards organic can struggle with understanding the process and rules. In conventional farming, the requirements are pretty simple: hire a team to spray the farm with herbicides and insecticides and add nutrients and fertilizer.
Once a farmer decides to start producing organic produce or feed, they must learn how to manage soil nutrients without fertilizer and fight weeds and insects without herbicides and insecticides. Other challenges include purchasing new equipment to handle organic farming and making other up-front investments. Organic farming requires more labor to tackle weeds and manage soil quality.
Organic farmers are also required to rotate crops to maintain USDA organic certification. Because the majority of grain storage facilities and transportation networks are geared towards conventional crops, organic farmers need to find a market structure adhering to the requirements of organic.
Organic egg producers are also required to make large investments into equipment and operations. To maintain organic certification, farmers must give their hens feed free of supplements and additives, refrain from using hormones and build housing that reduces the possibility of diseases, parasites and predation.
Making the switch to organic requires going against the grain and intentionally prioritizing the well-being of hens above extra profit. For decades, Chino Valley Ranchers has been committed to producing organic eggs and looking after the health and wellness of its hens. Chino Valley Ranchers will continue to lead the way in following organic and sustainable egg production practices and provide its customers with the highest quality of eggs and egg products.