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USDA to gather new data on organic production

2012 corn harvest at Lawton Farms Jefferson Iowa
Organic agriculture survey results will be made available October 2020 on NASS website.

In December 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will begin conducting the "2019 Organic Survey" to gather up-to-date data on organic crops and livestock in the U.S. This special survey effort is critical to help determine the economic impact of organic agriculture production across the nation.

NASS is mailing the survey to all known organic farms. The form asks farmers to provide information on acreage, production and sales for a variety of organic crop and livestock commodities. The agency urges all participants to respond by Feb. 3, 2020. After this date, NASS will follow up by phone and personal interviews with those who have not responded.

Dan Lofthus, Minnesota state statistician for NASS, said, "Organic agriculture is a rapidly growing segment of the industry, and Minnesota ranks among the top 10 states for both number of organic operations and total organic sales. According to the 2017 'Census of Agriculture,' Minnesota’s organic farms sold over $100 million in organic products. As farm sales from organic 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."

Agricultural statistics are frequently used by business and policy decision-makers, and in this case, farmers themselves stand to reap the most benefits. The report, to be released in October 2020, 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," Lofthus added. "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 "2019 Organic Survey" will be made available in October 2020 on the NASS website.

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