Decade of U.S. Organic Dairy Growth

More of us are eating organic foods these days, and those food choices are sustaining more jobs.  This, according to a new report out this summer from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Council of Economic Advisers and the White House Rural Council.  In 2011, the organic sector grew 9.5%, representing $31.4 billion in sales.

“The organic sector is fueling jobs and rural livelihoods at an astounding rate” said Matt McLean, Organic Trade Association Board President and fourth-generation Florida citrus grower. “Organic is also creating an important economic opportunity for rural Americans through new business opportunities generated from the recent organic equivalency trade arrangements with Canada and the European Union,” added McLean, noting that U.S. organic food is a significant part of President Obama’s efforts to boost agriculture exports.

Organic dairy has been an industry leader, growing 26% in the past decade. Flour Sack Mama recently asked the world's largest organic yogurt company for its response to the report Strengthening Rural Communities:  Lessons from a Growing Farm Economy.  From time to time, we get to sample some of Stonyfield's new products, but we wanted to know about the big picture.  Responses are from our chat with Britt Lundgren, Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture at Stonyfield Farm.
Q: A new government report points out that organic farming, and particularly organic dairy, has been one of the fastest growing agriculture sectors. Stonyfield Organic has a long history of supporting organic dairy farmers, before it was trendy. What's your response to this report?
Q: Organic pioneers like Gary Hirshberg and others were using sustainable methods even before there was a USDA certified organic program. How would you describe the coming of age of USDA Organic program and what it means for agriculture?
Q: USDA-backed research, $117 million according to this report, has recently been focused on organics. How does this benefit the industry, and does it benefit consumers?
Q: Is enforcement strong enough to maintain the integrity of the USDA Organic seal, even as more and bigger players enter the marketplace?
Q: Anything else consumers should know about the growth of organic foods in the United States and what that means for them?