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Trend analysis of organic food planting in western United States

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https://www.eduzhai.net Public Health Research 2020, 10(2): 41-57 DOI: 10.5923/j.phr.20201002.02 Analyzing Organic Food Farming Trends in the US Western Region E. C. Merem1,*, Y. A. Twumasi2, J. Wesley1, D. Olagbegi1, M. Crisler1, C. Romorno1, M. Alsarari1, P. Isokpehi1, A. Hines3, G. S. Ochai4, E. Nwagboso5, S. Fagei6, S. Leggett7 1Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Jackson State University, 101 Capitol Center, Jackson, MS, USA 2Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources, Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA 3Department of Public Policy and Administration, Jackson State University, 101 Capitol Center, Jackson, MS, USA 4African Development Bank, AfDB, 101 BP 1387 Avenue Joseph Anoma, Abidjan, AB 1, Ivory Coast 5Department of Political Science, Jackson State University, 1400 John R. Lynch Street, Jackson, MS, USA 6Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology, Jackson State University, 1400 John R. Lynch Street, Jackson, MS, USA 7Department of Behavioral and Environmental Health, Jackson State University, 350 Woodrow Wilson, Jackson, MS, USA Abstract At a time of mounting fears over the risks of tainted food and the environmental health impacts, people are embracing organic farming in record numbers. The way such alternative food items are displayed in grocery stores in every zone in the country gives credence to the growing acceptance. Since its emergence, organic farming has gained formidable foothold in the Western region where California towers above everyone and other parts of the US. Considering the reasons that originally fueled organic farming and the proliferation across the country, access to more varieties of produces are helping supplement output originating from conventional sources. Further along these lines, elements located within the organic farm structure from size of land area, cropland and food types have increased over time. While the surge in organic farmland use stems from socio-economic forces, ecology and policy factors, very little has been done in assessing the changing trends and the state of organic farm operations using a mix scale technique. Added to that, the guiding standards shaping the regulatory components of organic farm produce and the potentials are barely known. For that, this research will fill that void by focusing on organic farming activities in 10 states in the Western region with emphasis on the issues, trends and factors using secondary data under mix scale techniques of GIS and descriptive statistics. The results point to visible changes in farmland indicators from cropland, food types to output volume in organic farm operations coupled with dispersion of emergent spatial patterns highlighting the extent of organic farmland use and the evolution of other indicators across the states using GIS. Realizing that the changes surrounding organic farming activities in the study area emanate from socio-economic and physical elements, the paper offered seven suggestions to strengthen the sector. The recommendations ranged from the need for a periodic tracking of farm operations to the design of a regional organic land use and food index. Keywords Organic farming, Issues, GIS, Western region, Changes, Factors, Spatial analysis, Land use 1. Introduction Beginning in the initial phase of the1980s, organic farming has seen massive evolution and novelty in the US and around the globe [1,2,3,4,5,6,7]. Many analysts have associated the United States (US) government 1980 policy and support for organic foods as the key enabling force behind much of the push for it [8]. Said that, one need not lose sight also as to how the growing appeal of organic philosophy all through the decades of the 1960s and 1970s * Corresponding author: edmund.c.merem@jsums.edu (E. C. Merem) Published online at https://www.eduzhai.net Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Scientific & Academic Publishing This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY). http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ facilitated the essential groundwork that moved organic farming on top of the US legislative priority during the opening decade of the 1980s [9]. Even though during the 1970s, improved ecological consciousness and customer needs coupled with the widespread convergence of the ideas that drove the advances in the organic sub sector in that era, the emergent movement encountered mounting challenges [9,10]. For communities who lacked the capacity to cultivate organic food for consumption in such settings, it was frequently problematic to track the item credibly, given the limited guidelines on what really constituted organic food [11,12,13]. Yet, the preference for the adoption of organic food stayed on the upside amidst numerous justifications surrounding it, both in the early years and the present times [14,12]. This seems to have occurred despite mounting changes in many indicators and factors germane to the sector in the Western region [9,15]. 42 E. C. Merem et al.: Analyzing Organic Food Farming Trends in the US Western Region Considering the inherent the economic potentials together with ecological benefits embedded in organic agriculture [12,13,16,17,18]. There exists a rising segment of food experts, conservationists, state bureaucrats, growers within cities and the county side, that were becoming far more concerned and startled about the probable susceptibility to the fossil fuel dependent structures of operations that nowadays shape conventional American farming [19]. Accordingly, in the last four decades, mainstream agriculture has become heavily more reliant on hydrocarbon based, agro-chemicals and nutrients to sustain crops and ensure plant safety [19]. This emanates from the sudden outbreak of diseases and viruses known to constitute dangers to productivity. Undoubtedly, such energy-intense farm infrastructure has considerably accelerated the agricultural output in the nation. Still, the abruptly ever-increasing productivity expenses from daily operations and fluctuating supply of available energy in the form of petroleum and farm nutrients and agrochemicals, prompted a significant preference for affordable and more ecologically benign production system like organic agriculture [20]. Just as the seeming deterioration and shortfalls in soil yield all over the US have been felt in farming circles due to extreme erosion, chemical outflow, and damages from deficits in loss of soil organic material. The impairment of environmental quality from sedimentation and pollution of natural waters by agricultural chemicals rank high as huge concerns. The potential hazards to human and animal health and food safety from heavy use of pesticides, have also deepened interest in organic farming systems of food production [19]. Thus, conceptually, organic agriculture refers to a way of farming which has a positive impact on the ecosystem while addressing economic and social needs essential to the sustainable development of rural areas as well as environmental protection [11,5,12]. In that way, organic producers often shun the use of synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones in crop and livestock production by depending on biological pest management, cover crops, and other ecological approaches as alternatives [14,1,21]. Research has also linked these activities with many advantages, made up of minimal chemical residues in food and water, lesser energy use and enriched biodiversity [19,22,21,23]. At a time when citizens health all over the country are threatened by the ecological risks of foods laced with noxious chemicals. Organic agriculture has seen massive growth and innovation in the United States and all over the world since the 1980s followed by a huge rally from 2007-2016 [24]. Since then, the idea of producing and eating food cultivated by ‘non-chemical’ methods became more attractive to a certain component of American society starting in the 1960s. Accordingly, people are embracing organic farming in record numbers given the visible displays in grocery stores nationwide and through export markets [24]. Until just recently, it was left to the states to define what constitutes organic food and what criteria growers need to fulfil to be certified with little uniformity. However, by 1990, only 22 of the 50 states had the laws in place to regulate the sector [11]. Due to these problems, the rationale behind the emergence of organic food has been questioned by those who felt such a shift towards it could make people starve. Even at that, organic products continue to grow in the United States at an estimated value of $43.2 billion in 2015 [11,25]. But nowhere has organic farming gained a formidable foothold than the Western region of the country where California now towers above its immediate neighbors and other parts of the United States in every category [15,25,18,9]. However, in the literature very little has been done in assessing the changing trends in organic farm activities in the Western region of the US using a mix scale technique [26,27,28]. Furthermore, when broken across regional lines, the West still showed noticeable dominance compared to the other parts of the country. This is often overlooked in the literature. Considering these voids, this research assesses the status of organic farming in the Western region with mix scale models of GIS and descriptive statistics [29,30,31,32]. Thus, regional analysis of organics remains vital due to their role in food security attainment and sustainable use of the agricultural land base of the region [9]. In terms of objectives, the paper has five aims, and these includes the first two based on the need to explore the issues in organic farmland use and to analyze the state and status of the sector in the US Western region. The others are to assess the changes in non-conventional farm indicators within the states and to identify factors behind the emergence and success. The last objective delves on the focus to design a decision support tool for policy makers. On the organizational side, the paper is divided into five parts made up of introduction, methods, results, discussions and conclusions. 2. Methods and Materials The study area contains the 10 states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming in the US western region (Figure 1). The area has over 70 million people and it is situated along the Pacific North west, and the Desert Southwest ecozone that stretches through 945,800.81 square miles area from Northern Washington to New Mexico [33]. Because of the large size, the diverse ecosystem and new settlements, the recourse to organics has gained widespread currency (Table 1). Environmental features of the region consist of deserts, sensitive wetlands, fish and wildlife streams/lakes [34]. In as much as climate stands among the key elements in the US Western region, the yearlong farming period and areas set aside for growing diverse crops and vegetables helps revenue generation for growers [35]. There is also the presence of good soils, water, and ideal locality which enables planters who were traditionally fascinated about the zone, to capitalize on the resources regardless of the dangers [9,35]. This in turn have been instrumental in the region’s capacity to thrive [35]. Seeing the enterprising nature of the individuals involved and the Public Health Research 2020, 10(2): 41-57 43 ability to absorb uncertainties with the investments to flourish under every scientific and policy innovation on their doorsteps. The viability of specialty produces also allows the counties in central California to be steadily ranked high ahead of others. From the multiplicity of microclimates and nearness to the Asian Pacific Rim, the marketplace preference for California and western products remains enormous. Surely, in the Pacific North West especially, the incidence of water scarcity politics has also lured a hand full of California farmers to the subzone in lieu of booming water rights, rising market and a supportive farming environment. For that, the Columbia Basin irrigated region in central Washington had several counties on the top 200 list of best places to farm [35]. Figure 1. The Study Area, US Western Region Table 1. The Population of The Study Area in 2010 and 2017 States Arizona California Montana Colorado New Mexico Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming Total Population 2010 6,392,017 37,253,956 989,415 5,029,196 2,059,179 3,831,074 2,763,885 6,724,540 563,626 65,606,888 Population 2017 7,016,270 39,536,653 1,050493 5,607,154 2,088,070 4,142,776 3,101,833 7,405,743 579,315 70,528,307 Furthermore, the pace of demographic changes, policy innovation, climate, exports, rising demands, prices, sales, global outreach and preference for non-conventional agricultural produce have prompted unparalleled expansion of organic farm indicators since 2001-2011. In the context of such changes, the US Western region has now emerged as the new frontier of organic farms [36,37,38,39,40,41,42]. Being home to tens of millions of citizens with a vast portion of US agriculture, the region is second to none. When 10 states nationwide accounted for 77% of organic farm sales in 2014, California surpassed all of them. At that period, the state of California was responsible for 38% of all US transactions estimated at $2.9 billion [9]. Pertaining to organic output, California outpaces everyone when it comes to fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries, with lettuce and grapes ranked as the major income generating organic produces. Just as the Golden state stands out as the key source of organic livestock, with broiler chickens and milk from cows the most essential supplies. California produces more than 90% of all US organic sales for 14 different commodities, including 99% of the nation's organic walnuts, lemons, figs and artichokes and 100 percent of its organic almonds and dates. Being the area with the biggest portion of certified farmhouses and organic land, California brought in new 76 farms onto its organic operations coupled with almost 300,000 acres in 2016. Elsewhere, while Washington dropped from No. 2 in national ranking, sales therein grew by $10 million followed by the addition of 79 new farms and close to 7,000 more acres. Oregon stayed on to the number 4 nationwide with rising deals valued at over $81 million with 52 fresh farms and 19,000 new acres [9]. In that way, California and the other adjoining states in the Western region still led everyone in organic sales, number of organic farms and acreages nationwide. Also, counties with the prime location quotients for organic produce are mostly located in the west especially California, Washington, and Oregon and the others [41]. In all these, worries about increasing dependence by conventional farming on hydrocarbon based synthesized fertilizers to grow food as mentioned earlier, makes assessment of organic products in the US Western region a justifiable research call. Aside from a few sceptics on the current surge in the area, the potentials of organics have become more attractive than ever with a major upside in the US Western region [9,43,44]. 2.1. Method Used The paper uses a mix scale approach involving descriptive statistics and secondary data connected to GIS to analyze the growing evolution of organic farming trends among some selected states of the US Western region from the Pacific Northwest zone of Washington to Arizona. The spatial information for the enquiry was obtained from several agencies consisting of the NOAA, the USGS, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Global organics and organic foods international. Other sources of spatial info emanated from the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, North East organic farming association, California certified organic farmers, organic farmers association, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Pew Research Center, The US EPA, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE and Western SARE. In 44 E. C. Merem et al.: Analyzing Organic Food Farming Trends in the US Western Region addition to that, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Organic consumers Association, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Organic Trade Association, Organic Valley and Organic Research Centres Alliance (ORCA) also provided other information needed in the research. Generally, the bulk of food security indicators relevant to the region and individual nations were obtained from the FAO’s FAOSTAT, FAO International Working Group on Agriculture, Organic world, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS),The state archives from California, Oregon to New Mexico, and the USDA Economic Research Service for some of the periods. At the same time, crucial insights on the relevant data also came from Farm Journal Foundation, National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), USDA’s Risk Management Agency, the Organic Trade Association (OTA), USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. On the one hand, the USDA, the World Bank, FAO Statistics Data Base, the government of California, California Department of Agriculture, Arizona and California Farm Bureaus provided the secondary data on the total organic farm production, and sales and market quantity. On the other, the Governments of the Western region, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) offered the time series data, and monetary information on organic farm operations on selected major farm crops like grains stressing the activities in the zone. For additional data needs, the inter-American commission on organic agriculture, USDA Natural resources conservation service, USDA Farm agency and the National academy of sciences were respectively essential in the procurement of information on the critical information and econometric data highlighting deficits, surpluses and changes. In a similar vein, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the Hartman Group and Food Marketing Institute and the US Department of Commerce remained instrumental in the provision of other relevant information. The other key sources encompass the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Nielsen data group, and organic trade association. Given that regional and federal geographic identifier codes of the states were used to geo-code the info contained in the data sets. This information was processed and analyzed with basic descriptive statistics, and GIS with attention paid to the temporal-spatial trends at the county, state and regional levels in the US Western region. The relevant procedures consist of two stages listed below. 2.2. Stage 1: Identification of Variables, Data Gathering and Study Design The initial step in this research involved the identification of variables required to analyze the extent of harvest or production and changes at the national and regional level from 2001 to 2011. The variables consist of socio-economic and environmental information of certified organic grain crop acreage by state, corn, wheat, oats, barley, rye, and their totals, certified organic pasture and cropland, US totals, number of certified operations, crops acres, pasture and rangeland, certified organic acreage of other crops by state and organic farm sales. The others consist of sales amount in $billion -hundreds of million, certified organic beans volume, by state, certified organic livestock, number of certified organic livestock, the top states in organic farm sales, certified organic operations and organic farm sales. Added to that are the organic farms selling within 100 miles, demand for organic products in faraway markets, organic farm groups, household organic purchasing, organic percent sales, population estimate, housing data, housing units, building permits and size of certified organic grain. These variables as mentioned earlier were derived from secondary sources made up of government documents, newsletters and other documents from NGOs. This process was followed by the design of data matrices for socio-economic and land use (environmental) variables covering census periods from 2001, 2003,2006 to 2008, 2011 to 2016. The design of spatial data for the GIS analysis required the delineation of county boundary lines within the study area as well. Given that the official boundary lines between the 10 Western states remained the same, a common geographic identifier code was assigned to each of the area units for analytical coherency. 2.3. Stage 2: Data Analysis and GIS Mapping In the second stage, descriptive statistics and spatial analysis were employed to transform the original socio-economic and ecological data into relative measures (percentages, ratios and rates). This process generated the parameters for establishing, the extent of organic food production, and the quantity and crop areas cultivated and others related to certified organic grain crop acreage by state, crop types, and land use types, the changing pattern in harvests, food availability, number of people or population and housing units and building permits driving the market sales and trends across the region for each of the 10 states through measurement and comparisons overtime. While the spatial units of analysis consist of states, the region and the boundary and locations where organic food farm sales, acreages of crops and the proportion of certified organic livestock and the number of certified organic livestock flourished. This analytical approach allows the detection of change, while the tables highlight the actual frequency and averages on household organic purchasing, organic percent sales, housing units and permits, the demands for organic products in farm markets, size of certified organic grain as well as the economic equivalents. The remaining steps involve spatial analysis and output (maps-tables-text) covering the study period, using Arc GIS 10.4 and SPSS 10.4. With spatial units of analysis covered in 10 states (Figure 1), the study area map indicates boundary limits of the units and their geographic locations. The outputs for each state were not only mapped and compared across Public Health Research 2020, 10(2): 41-57 45 time, but the geographic data for the units which covered boundaries, also includes ecological data of land cover files and paper and digital maps from 2001-2016. This process helped show the spatial evolution, location of various activities and the trends, the ensuing environmental and economic elements, as well as changes in other variables and factors driving the surge in organic food and the evolution in the study area. 3. The Results This section of the paper presents the results of data analysis on changing organic farming situation in the study area. There is an opening focus on the temporal highlights of total organic land use and the number of certified operations. This is followed by an assessment of organic beans land and crop land and the totals in certified organic grain crops using descriptive statistics. The others consist of the GIS mapping and the identification of factors responsible for the trends in organics in various states within the US Western region over the years. 3.1. Total Organic Land Use 2001-2011 Table 2. Size of Certified Organic Grain Land, 2001-2011 In US the Western Region Years 2001 2003 2006 2008 2011 Total Acres 133,754 160,213 220,705 364,728 312,983 1,192,383 Percentages 11.21 13.43 18.50 30.58 26.24 100.00 From the data, the Western region occupied a total of 1,192,383 acres of organic grain land from 2001 through 2011. The temporal distribution shows that the US Western region used up 133,754 to 160, 2013 acres in the first periods of 2001-2003. By the fiscal year 2006, organic grain land area in the region surged to 220,705 acres. In the final two years 2008 to 2011, the states in the Western region saw their land area set aside for grain drop from 364,778 to 312,983 acres (Table 2). Seeing the deficits of -51,795 acres at a rate of -16.54% during the periods of 2008 to 2011. Such losses even though higher and absent in the initial years, are significant enough to disrupt the burgeoning activities in the sector. However, in terms of the percentage break down in the temporal distribution in total organic grain land in place under the decade spanning from 2001 through 2011, note that the highest proportion of available land for organic agriculture of 30.58% to 26.24 held firm in the later years of 2008 to 2011. Further examination of the information on the Table showed that these values exceeded the percentage levels of 11.21%, 13.43% and 18.50% as evidenced in the early periods of 2001, 2003 to 2006 in the organic farming fields throughout the US western region (Table 2). 3.1.1. The Number of Certified Operations Considering their relevance in the agricultural structure, the number of certified operations in the study area surged abundantly between 2001-2011. Within the years, the totals of approved organic farms went from 2,294 to 4,528 among the states in the study area. This reflects the across the board increments in the respective places of operations in the individual states with the bulk of the farms stationed in California. During those periods, California’s number of certified operations jumped from its initial values of 1,011 in 2001 to 2,530 during the fiscal year 2011 by over 150%. The same can be said of Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana where farms designated as certified rose significantly (from 231 to 486, 548 to 737, 120-256). Among the last two states, the number of operations also rose notably by 6-53 to 83 -154 farms (Table 3-4). In terms of certified organic pasture grainland between the fiscal years 2001 through 2011 by state in the study area. The trio of states made up of Colorado, Montana and California started as the lead places with sizable land areas stretching over the hundreds and thousands of acres (331,614,209,025-163,158) as at 2001. Among the second-tier states, the states of New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Oregon followed closely in the low tens of thousands of acres (42,113-27,501). Of the other third group of states with notable pasture and grain land areas, the farm sizes in Arizona and Wyoming stood at 8,933 to 17,138 acres all through 2001 (Table 3). All in all, California held on to more cropland acreages (148,664) while Colorado used larger areas of pasture and rangeland followed by Montana whose pastureland stood at 137,318 acres during the same period. Although by 2011, a completely different land use pattern emerges in the temporal distribution of both certified organic pasture and cropland. Understandably so, California and Wyoming stood firm and outpaced the other states as the top two states with vast swaths of areas (951,356 acres to 693,222 acres) devoted to usage during that period (Table 4). The trio of the other states in the region most notably Montana, New Mexico and Oregon were quite active and not left out considering the volume of organic farm activities and their positions as actors with notable acreages. From the level of activities, these group of states accounted for 218,021, 265,719 to 358779 acres. Elsewhere, Colorado, Utah, and Washington contained organic pasture and cropland estimated at over 90,000 to 164,000 acres individually. This size of land areas surpassed the 40,185 acres in use at Arizona during the same timeframe. Further look on the size of areas among the states in the study area, shows that while California posted almost identical values (405,473 to 545,883 acres) in crops and pasture land, Oregon topped the rest of the states in crop acreages worth 326,115 with lower pasture and rangeland sizes of 32,665 acres. Wyoming on the other hand occupied the largest pasture and rangeland 46 E. C. Merem et al.: Analyzing Organic Food Farming Trends in the US Western Region available (572,659 acres), coupled with 123,563 acres in cropland that is somewhat lower than the levels in California during the same period in 2011 (Tables 3-4). Table 3. Certified Organic Pasture and Cropland, 2001, by State Areas U.S. total Arizona California Colorado Montana Nevada New Mexico Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming Number of certified operations* 6,949 20 1,011 228 83 20 120 231 27 548 6 Crops acres 1,304,766 8,820 148,664 67,347 71,707 1,856 8,848 22,075 30,086 31,229 16,196 Pasture & rangeland 789,505 113 14,495 264,267 137,318 98 33,265 5,426 3,445 3,008 942 Total 2,094,272 8,933 163,158 331,614 209,025 1,954 42,113 27,501 33,530 34,238 17,138 Table 4. Certified Organic Pasture and Cropland, 2011, by State Areas U.S. total Arizona California Colorado Montana Nevada New Mexico Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming Number of certified operations* 12,880 56 2,530 217 154 32 215 486 48 737 53 Crops acres Pasture & rangeland Total 3,084,989 24,485 405,473 78,583 167,915 10,706 70,025 326,115 88,259 83,772 123,563 2,298,130 15,700 545,883 85,424 50,107 186,970 195,694 32,665 1,788 8,311 572,659 5,383,119 40,185 951,356 164,007 218,021 197,676 265,719 358,779 90,047 92,083 696,222 3.1.2. Assessment of Organic Beans and Cropland Use Regarding organic beans total land areas under cultivation for the study area, out of the total of 12,870 to 23,307 acres over the ten-year period of 2001 through 2011, the land areas devoted to the crop rose by 81.09% at an average of 2,337-1,608.75 acres. Note that in the 2001 period when Colorado and Montana dominated the acreage distribution with 6,934 to 3,809 acres, California contained only 946 acres. During this same period, Utah, Washington and Wyoming held 559,247 to 302 acres compared to the miniscule acreages of 307 to 43 for New Mexico and Oregon. By 2011, the acreages devoted to beans cultivation expanded notably to 6,433, 6,205, 5,268 in Washington, Montana and California. Since the upswing was not limited to the first set of states under analysis, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon saw their organic beans land area move up to 2,334,1,021 to 1,503 acres respectively as well. With time, the states of New Mexico and Utah faded gradually with marginal acreage areas of 16 to 26 in beans land while Wyoming saw slight increases of 442 acres during the same period. From the percentages of change in areas set aside for organic beans farming between 2001-2011, a trio of states (California, Oregon and Washington) posted the largest triple and four-digit gains of 456.87%, 3,395% to 2,508%. Other evidence of gains in organic beans land areas in the study area includes the 62.90 to 46.35% for Montana and Wyoming while Colorado, New Mexico and Utah accounted for heavy double-digit declines of -85.27, -46.66 to -95.34 percentage points respectively. In as much as Colorado and Montana led the rest of the states in the percent of organic beans farm area by 53.87 to 29.59% in 2001, by 2011, California, Montana and Washington emerged with identical individual shares of over 20% (22.60-26.62,27.64) in land areas acreage distribution. This represents 76.86% of the entire organic beans’ farmland areas in the Western region during the fiscal year 2011. In the remaining states, whereas Arizona held on to 10%, Colorado’s dominance gradually evaporated to barely 4.38% and the rest finished under low single digit in total area percentages (Table 5). Table 5. Certified Organic Beans by State, 2001-2011 Acres Total State Arizona California Colorado Montana New Mexico Nevada Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming Total 2001 946 6,934 3,809 30 43 559 247 302 12,870 2011 2,334 5,268 1,021 6,205 16 49 1,503 26 6,443 442 23,307 Percentage Change 2001-2011 0 456.87 -85.27 62.90 -46.66 3,395 -95.34 2,508 46.35 81.09 Percent of Total 2001 7.3 53.87 29.59 0.23 0.33 4.34 1.91 2.34 99.91 Percent of Total 2011 10.01 22.60 4.38 26.62 0.06 0.21 6.44 0.11 27.64 1.89 99.96 3.1.3. The Total in Certified Organic Grain Crops The temporal distribution of certified organic crop acreage from 2001 through 2011 shows the study area planted multiple crops from corn to barley on 1,041,229 acres under a span of a decade at an average of 208,245.8 acres over those years. The breakdown over the individual years 2001 to 2006, showed certified cropland under the group of crops rose much of the time by over 100,000 acres (112,271, 137,521 and 186,947 acres) respectively. The trend continued in 2008 and 2011 with additional 330,066 to 274,424 acres under cultivation. Looking at the percentage distributions of certified organic crops over the years, (from 2001-2011), the proportion of the land acreages of 31.69% -26.35% in 2008 through 2011 exceeded the levels (10.78, 13.20, 17.95%) in place during first three years (Table 6). Public Health Research 2020, 10(2): 41-57 47 Table 6. Certified Organic Grain Crop Acreage (Multiple Crops) by State, 2001-2011 and the Percentages Years 2001 2003 2006 2008 2011 Total Average Acreages 112271 137,521 186,947 330,066 274,424 1,041229 208,245.8 Percent 10.78 13.20 17.95 31.69 26.35 100.00 NA Table 7. Certified Organic Grain Crop Acreage, by State, 2001 State Arizona California Colorado Montana New Mexico Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming Corn - 374 2,170 527 163 555 - Wheat 312 10,891 18,772 39,508 1,421 483 17,897 2,115 5,737 Oats - 1,023 297 940 20 8 51 - Barley 317 971 1,419 2,111 61 46 - Other* - 254 628 2,748 135 64 188 65 - Total 629 13,513 23,286 45,307 2,083 791 18,093 2,832 5,737 Table 8. Certified Organic Grain Crop Acreage, by State, 2003 State Arizona California Colorado Montana New Mexico Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming Corn - 784 30 260 881 1,165 1,031 - Wheat 1,663 5,409 33,623 50,036 1,454 12,570 1,669 6,111 Oats - 2,333 195 365 251 100 207 20 Barley - 2,269 105 3,829 590 51 - Other* - 6,146 89 3,346 - 927 12 - Total 1,663 16,941 34,042 57,836 2,335 2,933 12,670 2,970 6,131 Based on the total acreages set aside for organic grain crop in the US Western region between 2001 to 2011. The available land areas in California did not really exceed those of some of its neighbors as manifested in the previous land use indicators and categories. In 4 of the 5 years under analysis, Montana held the top spot in total acreages in 2001, 2003, 2006, and 2011 with the exception of 2008 when California emerged as the number one with 84,134 acres (Table 7-11). Notwithstanding all that, other states like Colorado and Utah were active, given the large swaths of areas tied to certified organic grain crops. For that, looking at the info in the table, during the initial periods of 2001 to 2003, the cropland (45,307-57,836 and 23,286-34,042) in the duo of states Montana and Colorado exceeded by a wider margin those in California estimated at 16,941-13,513 acres. In the same period, Utah stayed in the mix with 18,093-12,670 acres at levels higher and comparable to California by 2001 through 2003. Of the increases that occurred in the fiscal year 2006, Montana’s ranking at number 1 remained unchanged with the surge of 59,578 acres in organic crop land. In that year also, both California and Colorado accounted for over 40,000 acres each (44,283-43,142) while the state of Wyoming jumped to the 4th place by 19,537 acres. Table 9. Certified Organic Grain Crop Acreage, by State, 2006 State Arizona California Colorado Montana New Mexico Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming Corn 902 905 1,985 2 1,554 273 1,551 70 Wheat 909 12,326 35,901 48,063 4,243 562 1,683 3,257 18,520 Oats 1,134 3,508 580 45 437 194 449 47 368 Barley - 5,284 103 4,829 394 456 169 579 Other* - 22,260 4,573 6,639 1,335 286 572 - Total 2,945 44,283 43,142 59,578 7,569 1,709 2,588 5,596 19,537 Table 10. Certified Organic Grain Crop Acreage, by State, 2008 State Arizona California Colorado Montana New Mexico Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming Corn 110 2,765 3,043 5 1,552 1,712 98 2,265 77 Wheat 2,868 36,115 57,631 39,389 14,426 4,019 53,760 4,390 20,211 Oats 52 4,064 532 540 260 205 112 734 Barley 52 5,692 1,509 3,868 1,499 247 311 135 Other* 52 35,498 741 26,286 - 2,224 575 382 60 Total 3,134 84,134 63,456 70,088 15,978 9,714 54,885 7,460 21,217 Table 11. Certified Organic Grain Crop Acreage, by State, 2011 State California Arizona Colorado Montana New Mexico Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming Corn 4,730 2,040 5 93 2,103 39 7,611 553 Wheat 18,622 338 26,864 55,063 7,185 4,076 51,917 5,785 31,266 Oats 3,655 513 583 30 2,932 839 238 1,029 Barley 8,568 50 1,193 5,624 10,680 2,392 783 707 Other* 4,798 213 3,199 56 6,289 115 1,624 24 Total 40,373 601 30,610 64,474 7,364 26,080 55,302 16,041 33,579 In the ensuing year, 2008, a completely different scenario emerges in which California at number 1 with 84,134 acres outpaced Montana and Colorado whose land areas at 70,088 to 63,456 acres put them at 2nd and 3rd spots in the ordinal rankings among the size of areas under certified organic grain crops made up of corn, wheat, oats, barley and others (Table 10). Elsewhere, the states in the third-tier category, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico did set aside sizable land areas (54,885, 21,217, and 15,978 acres) to certified organic crops at levels much higher than the other remaining states 48 E. C. Merem et al.: Analyzing Organic Food Farming Trends in the US Western Region under the listings. By 2008, Montana and Utah stood out as the leading producers with more land areas (64,474-55,302 acres). This exceeds the certified organic grain crop acreages (40,373, 33,579, 30,610, 26,080 acres) for a quartet of states most notably California, Wyoming, Colorado and Oregon (Table 11). direct transactions in Nevada and New Mexico held firm at 60-79.9% (Figure 4). 3.2. GIS Mapping and Spatial Analysis Understanding the spatial dimensions of organic farm activities in the study area, requires the analysis of the various indicators germane to the scale of operations over the years among the various states. With the geographic distribution of organic agricultural parameters listed under different (five information) fields ranging from organic farm sales to certified farms in the region. The GIS Mapping of the tendencies reflects a gradual dispersal of organic food indicators in various scales throughout the US western region with much of that on the Pacific side of the map and the others in the South West over time. From the periods 2014 to 2016 as the maps show, note that between the top 10 states nationally ranked as the leading ones in organic farm sales, five states(California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado) in the US western region located along the Pacific Northwest and the Desert South ecozones stood out in enviable spots of 1, 2,4, 9, 10 out of the $6.2 billion totals representing about 78% in sales nationwide. From its reputation as a major hub, it came as no surprise that in 2016 fiscal year, the Western region again accounted for another quartet of (4) states listed among top 10 leading areas in organic farm sales across the country under a market share of $ 7.8 billion and 77% of the transactions (Figure 2-3). Looking further at the spatial distribution of other forms of organic farm sales in the states in the study area during the period 2014. The information in Figure 4 offers a display of sales activities which directly targeted willing consumers on different points in space across states in the West. With the sales interactions as conveyed through the map legends symbolizing percentage values classified in different scales under a trio of generic colors (green, yellow, and blue) for illustration purposes. There emerged additional info under sub colors highlighting evolution and dispersion of alternative farm sales depicting the proportions in the actual direct deals in 2014 (dark green, light yellow or light green and light blue colors) in the individual states of the Western region. Beginning on the upper left corner of the map within the Pacific North side and Central area and the Eastern corridor in dark green color. The proportion of direct sales of organic farm food items to consumers in 2014 showed heavy concentration in five group of states made up of Washington, Oregon, Montana, Utah and Colorado at the medium rates of 40-59.9%. At the same time, further instances of direct organic farm sales at 20-39% in light green/light yellow colors involves the convergence in activities in the upper part of the study area in Wyoming and in the South and Desert Southwest areas of California and Arizona as the Figure 2. Top 10 States In Organic Farm Sales, 2014 Figure 3. Top 10 States In Organic Farm Sales, 2016 Figure 4. Direct Organic Farm Sales to Consumers, 2014 Public Health Research 2020, 10(2): 41-57 49 Figure 5. Organic Farms Selling With 100 Miles, 2014 Figure 8. Demand For Organic Products In 201 US Farmers Markets 2005 Figure 6. Spatial Distribution of Organic Farms Figure 9. Map of U.S. Household Organic Purchasing 2016 Figure 7. Total Organic Farm Acreages 2016 Figure 10. Certified and Exempt Organic Farms 2014 50 E. C. Merem et al.: Analyzing Organic Food Farming Trends in the US Western Region Figure 11. Certified Organic Farms Operation 2014 Figure 12. Certified Organic Farms Operation 2015 Figure 13. Certified Organic Farms Operation 2016 In the context of the geographic distribution in the share of organic farm sales within 100 miles in the country during the fiscal year 2014. The group of four states in light blue representing Washington, Oregon, California and New Mexico in both the Pacific North west and Lower south zone of the study area saw robust market shares given the scale of their activities of 80-89.9%. Elsewhere, in the same order, Montana and Wyoming listed in light yellow and very light blue colors in the map followed up with appreciable rates of 60.69 to 35-59.9% in their share of alternative farm businesses. Note also a cluster of other states in dark green (Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona) dispersed mostly along the Central zone, Eastern plains and the Desert South west where market access under 100 miles reached sizable proportions of 70-79.9%. In sum, in 2014 again, emerges the cluster of areas from the Pacific upper north and central zone portions alongside New Mexico in the South west, Montana and Colorado having 70-89% of organic farm shares within 100 miles. With that came robust points in space depicting states where farms engaged in direct sales of organic food items to consumers during 2014 in the Western region were active (Figure 5). The geography of the actual presence of organic farms and the size of their overall land areas devoted to alternative agricultural operations in 2016 underscores the extent and form of the evolution in US western region (Figures 6-7). The classification involves various shades and scales in blue, light green and light gold from low to high category. From the large farming activities synonymous with the areas represented in dark blue, the left side of the map from the upper and the lower south portions, are places in the region with more than 500 organic farms. Being the highest scales in the rankings as depicted in the legend, the geographic distribution network of the farms in space transcends the trio of states in the Pacific North western zone (Washington, Oregon and California) where their dominance remain visible with the presence and gradual spread of the over 500 organic farms class across the states. Closely followed are the medium sized farm class depicted in green and light blue with scales of 200-500 and 101-200 in the central state of Colorado coupled with Montana and New Mexico. The areas on the lower scale as calibrated by 0-100 organic farms showed huge presence in the upper north west state of Wyoming and neighboring Southwest Desert states of Nevada, Utah and Arizona. For that, the geography of farm numbers nationwide indicates farm classes under the 500-100 plus category stayed steady in the Western region with the Pacific states of Washington to California and Oregon surpassing the others (Figure 6). In the total size of organic farms, the big producing states of California and Montana responsible for 235972-688883 acres of these farms in dark green held the top spot. In the same fashion, the medium size states of Oregon, Wyoming, and Colorado, Washington, and Utah in the upper and East central parts of the region with deep concentration of 56, 973- 123, 348 acre sized farms outpaced the remaining areas of Nevada and Arizona in very light green where average farm sizes

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