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ORGANIC farming has moved on from hobby farming into the boardrooms, bank accounts and farming empires of corporate Australia.

A new survey to be released today by IBISWorld shows organic farming is a $655 million industry, growing at a phenomenal 12 per cent a year.

Organic produce also has emerged for the first time as a significant export earner, particularly organic meat sold to the US, with total exports valued at $66m last year.

IBISWorld analyst ­Caroline Finch said sales of organic produce still made up only 1 per cent of all income to farmers at the farmgate.

But by 2018, the IBIS report predicts organic farming will be a $1 billion mainstream agricultural industry, driven by continuing consumer demand for food that is healthy, safe, chemical-free and grown in a manner that is kinder to the environment and animals.

“Organic meat has been the big growth areas; it is something Australian producers can do really well because a lot of cattlemen and sheep farmers in the rangeland and outback areas aren’t using chemicals in the first place,” Ms Finch said.

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