Not enough U.S. farmers are finding it possible to make the transition to organic production, according to a January 2006 marketing report from the research firm Organic Monitor in London. Domestic consumers are buying record amounts of organic foods, but farmers are unable to meet that demand, resulting in $1.5 billion of organic crops imported into the U.S. in 2005. This means that 10% of all organic sales in the U.S. today are imports. In comparison, U.S. organic exports amount to a meager $150 million. In the European Union, government programs help conventional farmers make the transition to organic production with subsidies and technical assistance. In contrast, the majority of U.S. agricultural subsidies are earmarked for large chemical-intensive and energy-intensive farms and genetically engineered crops, making it difficult for family-scale farmers and ranchers to afford the expensive and difficult three year transition from conventional to organic production. "Unless more American farmers consider converting to organic practices, exporters are likely to capitalize on this lucrative market," the report said.
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