USDA gathering new data on organic ag

NASS survey to determine economic impact of certified organic ag crops and livestock.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced Feb. 1 that it has started conducting the "2015 Certified Organic Survey" to gather up-to-date data on certified organic crops and livestock in the U.S.

NASS said this special survey effort is critical to help determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production in the U.S.

NASS is mailing the survey to all known organic farms in the U.S. The form asks farmers to provide information on acreage, production and sales for a variety of certified organic crop and livestock commodities. In addition, NASS is gathering information about organic farmers’ production and marketing practices. The agency urges all participants to respond by Feb. 19. After this date, NASS will follow up by mail, phone and personal interviews with those who have not responded. Producers can return their forms by mail or complete the survey online at www.agcounts.usda.gov.

"In recent years, U.S. farms have experienced tremendous growth in organic agriculture sales. Last year, NASS reported that U.S. certified and exempt organic farms sold a total of $5.5 billion in organic products in 2014, up 72% since 2008," said Adam Cline, NASS census section head and member of the USDA Organic Working Group. "As farm sales from organic agriculture products increase, demand for accurate statistics about organic farming grows as well. This survey will be another step forward by USDA in its commitment to helping organic agriculture thrive and will ensure that future decisions impacting the industry stem from factual information."

Agriculture statistics are frequently used by business and policy decision-makers, and in this case, farmers themselves stand to reap the most benefits. The 2015 "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 in September 2016, will also assist farmers, suppliers and others in the private sector with planning the production and marketing of new products to help sustain industry growth.

As is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified, as required by federal law. For more information about the 2015 "Certified Organic Survey," visit www.nass.usda.gov/Surveys/Guide_to_NASS_Surveys/Organic_Production/index.php.

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