For more than two decades, the annual number of Iowa farms that have had their crop and livestock operations accredited to U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards has grown, according to agency data.

The label “organic” means that food is grown and processed according to federal guidelines. These include factors such as soil quality, pest control and how animals are raised.

However, the organic label has also been used as a mechanism to appeal to health and environmentally-conscious consumers. That has led to some producers using the label fraudulently, but the USDA recently announced moves to crack down on mislabeling, according to The Washington Post.

The new guidelines aim to strengthen “oversight and enforcement of the production, handling and sale of organic agricultural products.”

Mónica Cordero is an investigative and data journalist for the Investigate Midwest and a corps member with Report for America.

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Mònica CorderoInvestigative and Data Reporter, Report for AmericaData and investigative journalist, Report for America corps member

Mónica Cordero is a Report for America corps member and part of the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk team. Her expertise includes data analysis with Python and SQL, and reporting under the...

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