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USDA to gather data on organic agriculture production

By Staff | Feb 7, 2017

DES MOINES (NASS) – During February, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will begin conducting the 2016 Certified Organic Survey to gather up-to-date data on certified organic crops and livestock in the United States.

This special survey effort is critical to help determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production across the nation.

NASS is mailing the survey to all known certified organic farms. The form asks farmers to provide information on acreage, production, and sales for a variety of certified organic crop and livestock commodities.

The agency urges all participants to respond by Feb. 19. After this date, NASS will follow up by phone and personal interviews with those who have not responded. Producers can return their form by mail or complete the survey online at www.agcounts.usda.gov.

“Organic agriculture is a rapidly growing segment of the industry and Iowa ranks among the top 10 states for both number of certified organic operations and total certified organic sales.

Last year, NASS reported that Iowa’s certified organic farms sold a total of $120.5 million in organic products with eggs, corn, and milk as the highest grossing commodities,” said Greg Thessen, NASS’ Upper Midwest regional director. “As farm sales from organic products increase, demand for accurate statistics about organic farming grows as well.”

Agriculture statistics are frequently used by business and policy decision makers, and in this case farmers themselves stand to reap the most benefits. The 2016 Certified Organic Survey will provide data for USDA’s Risk Management Agency to evaluate crop insurance coverage to help provide adequate pricing for organic producers.

The report, to be released September 2017, will also assist farmers, suppliers and others in the private sector in planning the production and marketing of new products to help sustain industry growth.

“NASS has a long-standing reputation for providing objective, accurate data about all aspects of U.S. agriculture, but the only way for us to provide accurate information is with farmers’ input,” said Thessen. “I hope that all organic farmers who receive a survey form will recognize it as a way to benefit their industry and take the time to respond.”

As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential, as required by federal law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.

The results of the 2016 Certified Organic Survey will be made available Sept. 5, on NASS’ website at www.nass.usda.gov.

For more information contact the NASS field office at (515) 284-4340.

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