Sales at organic farms in Illinois more than tripled over a five-year period. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the state’s organic farms tallied $26.2 million in sales in 2012, up from $8.6 million in 2007. Kendra Schilling, the local food liaison for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, believes those sales won’t level off any time soon.
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“I really think it’s still growing,” Schilling said. “It’s something that, while sales have tripled, a lot of farmers are still—you know, I get calls regularly on ‘what does this entail, what do I need to do’ because the consumers they work with one-on-one are asking for it.”
Schilling says the USDA figures may be underestimating sales, as they count only growers that are certified by the department. Organic farms that have sales below $5,000 annually aren’t required to become certified.
Despite the increase, organic products made up a small portion of the state’s overall crop sales, which totaled $14.1 billion in 2012.