Facts & Figures
Organic farming in figures
Heike Kuhnert | 23.03.2023
How many farms are organic in Germany? Which federal states are in the lead in terms of the proportion of organically farmed land, and which are behind? And how does Germany compare with the rest of the EU?
According to official data, at the end of 2021, 36,307 farms in Germany were operating according to organic farming standards, on a total of about 1.8 million hectares. The share of organically farmed land in the total agricultural area comes up to 11 percent, and the share of organic farms in all farms is 14 percent. Compared to 2020, the organically farmed area has grown by almost 6 percent (BMEL 2022). According to initial estimates by the Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW 2023), the organically farmed area grew by almost 4 percent to just over 1.86 million hectares in 2022.
From very small to very large
The average organic farm manages almost 50 hectares, however there is a very wide range within the organic farms. The group of organic farms includes farms with special crops such as wine on a few hectares of arable land or farms with suckler cows on over 1,000 hectares. The latter are mainly at home in the eastern federal states of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on rather sparse sites dominated by grassland.
The importance of organic farming varies from region to region
The importance of organic farming varies considerably from region to region. In 2021, the relative share of land ranged from about 19 percent in Saarland and 16 percent in Hesse to just over 5 percent in Lower Saxony. In absolute terms, the focus of organic farming is in southern Germany: in 2021, 408,616 hectares in Bavaria and 203,830 hectares in Baden-Württemberg were farmed organically, followed by Brandenburg with 202,216 hectares and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania with 190,074 hectares of organic farmland. These four federal states account for more than half (nearly 56 percent) of the organically farmed area in Germany (BLE 2022).
Organic farming in the EU
According to Eurostat (2022), the total organic area in the EU in 2020 was 14.7 million hectares. This corresponds to a share of just over 9 percent of the total agricultural area of the 27 EU countries. Germany is in the middle of the EU countries in terms of organic area-share. With over 25 percent, Austria has the highest proportion of organically farmed land, followed by Estonia and Sweden, Italy and the Czech Republic.