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Feb 3, 2010

USDA - Less Than 1% of U.S. Farms Are Organic

On 3 February 2010 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the results of the 2008 Organic Production Survey, first survey undertaken by the department;s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  The survey was done in response to the growing interest in organic produce

"The survey counted 14,540 U.S. farms and ranches that were either USDA certified organic or were exempt from certification because their sales totaled less than $5,000. These operations comprised 4.1 million acres of land, of which 1.6 million acres were harvested cropland and 1.8 million acres were pasture or rangeland."

The survey concluded:
  • fewer than 1% of all U.S. farms are organic
  • organic farms generated $3.16 billion in sales in 2008
  • there were organic farms or ranches in all 50 states
  • 20 % of all organic operations were in California
  • California also led the nation in organic sales, with $1.15 billion – or 36 percent of all U.S. sales
  • organic farms had average sales and production expenses that were higher than those of U.S. farms overall. Organic operations had an average of $217,675 in sales, compared with $134,807 for all farms as reported in the 2007 Census of Agriculture.
  • most U.S. organic producers sold their products locally, with 44 percent of sales taking place less than 100 miles from the farm. Nearly 83 percent of organic sales were to wholesale channels, including processors, millers and packers. Just over 10 percent of sales were direct to retail operations, including supermarkets. Only 7 percent of sales were direct to consumers, via farm stands, farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture and other arrangements.

"New USDA Data Offers In-Depth Look at Organic Farming," U.S. Department of Agriculture, Press Release, 3 February 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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