State of Organic Seed
State of Organic Seed is an ongoing project to monitor the status of organic seed systems in the U.S. Our 2011 findings provide the first comprehensive analysis of the barriers and opportunities in building the availability, quality, and integrity of organic seed. This report is updated every five years.
We recently conducted an organic producer seed survey to serve as our first five-year update to this report. Results are currently being analyzed. The survey assesses producers' attitudes and perceptions regarding organic seed, as well as their current use of organic seed and any obstacles that restrict organic seed sourcing. The survey also asks which crops and traits should be prioritized through organic plant breeding programs. Findings will be included in our next State of Organic Seed report, and will be made public with detailed recommendations for improving access to seed that is optimal for organic agriculture.
The USDA’s National Organic Program requires the use of organic seed when commercially available. However, the organic seed sector was almost nonexistent when the organic program began, and is still working to meet demand. Our previous data shows that farmers report increased attempts to source organic seed. Public research in organic plant breeding has increased slightly, with investments from both the public and private sector. Still, a lack of organic seed that meets the diverse and regional needs of producers remains a barrier to the growth and success of organic farming. Further investments and collaboration will result in improved systems that can provide for these needs.
“We know system diversity is one of the foundation stones to successful organic production and we have seen a demonstrated commitment from OSA to build that component of diversity relating to seed. I want to ensure my dollars to on-the-ground projects, a place where an emphasis to make an enduring difference is part of the mandate and where my dollars can be leveraged to build a stronger, healthier food system around the world.”