Survey Counts $3.5 Billion in Organic Sales in 2011

11/24/2012 7:00 AM

A first-ever, in-depth survey of USDA-certified organic farming in the United States was conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service in conjunction with USDA’s Risk Management Agency to help refine federal crop insurance products for organic producers.

This was an opportunity for organic producers to share their voices and help ensure the continued growth and sustainability of organic farming.

The 2011 Certified Organic Production Survey counted 9,140 USDA-certified organic farms in the United States, consisting of 3.6 million acres of land.

In Pennsylvania, 446 USDA-certified organic farms consisting of 61,251 acres were counted in 2011, ranking the state sixth nationally.

USDA certified organic growers in the U.S. sold more than $3.5 billion organically grown agricultural commodities in 2011. Sales in Pennsylvania totaled more than $123 million.

In 2011, certified organic value-added sales in the United States totaled $118.6 million, with average sales per farm of $225,458. In Pennsylvania, certified organic value-added sales totaled $2.9 million, placing the state fifth nationally.

The full results of the survey are at

2012 Ag Census

NASS will mail questionnaires for the 2012 Census of Agriculture to farm and ranch operators in late December to collect data for the 2012 calendar year. Completed forms are due by Feb. 4. Producers can return their forms by mail or can fill out the census online via a secure website at

Floriculture Survey <\n>to Gather Data <\n>on Rapidly Changing Industry

The Commercial Floriculture Survey will be conducted in Pennsylvania and 14 other major floriculture states. Between Dec. 31 and Feb. 16, growers will be asked to provide information on production area, sales of floriculture products and the number of agricultural workers on their operation.

The information collected from this survey will help identify state and national trends in areas such as product development and production practices so that growers can make vital business decisions and evaluate the results of the growing season.

NASS will compile and analyze the survey information and publish the results in April 2013 in the report Floriculture Crops.

As with all NASS surveys, the information respondents provide is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only state- and national-level data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. All reports are available on the NASS website at

Ag Measurements Under Way

We are about to conduct the usual annual surveys to measure the 2012 crop production and livestock and poultry inventories at the end of the year.

The surveys mentioned below are conducted in all states in order to publish agricultural production or animal inventories at the county, state and national level for 2012.

The results of these surveys for all states can be found in late December and during January at Paper reports are still available to growers at no charge by calling 800-498-1518.

Now, here is a brief list of the end-of-year surveys happening now through December.

County Ag Statistics: Grower organizations, Extension, conservation districts, Farm Service Agency, National Resources Conservation Service, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and others rely on this information for research, defining and promoting Pennsylvania Agriculture and administering government programs.

The annual County Agricultural Production Survey (CAPS) provides county level acreage and production data used to establish county estimates for commodities. County estimates are the only source of annual localized estimates. This year CAPS is divided into two surveys, a “Small Grains” Survey and “Row Crops” Survey with defined activity schedules for each. This design allows data from the respective Quarterly Agricultural Survey in a statistically defensible manner, and to be collected closer to the actual harvest of crops being targeted, thus improving the precision of the county estimates produced. In Pennsylvania the “CAPS - Small Grains” Survey was mailed to about 4,500 farms. The “CAPS - Row Crops” Survey is going to about 5,500 farms. Combined, this represents only 16 percent of all farms in Pennsylvania.

To find historical ANNUAL county statistics for major Pennsylvania commodities, visit, click on the “Data and Statistics” tab and use the “Quick Stats” feature.

County data is available for ALL agricultural products in the Census of Agriculture. Visit, click on the “Census” tab for the most current and historic county and state statistics.

2012 county statistics from this survey are published on the Internet for small grains in mid-December while row crop county numbers are available in late February. County estimates for hay are usually released in mid-April. Tobacco, livestock and potato data are available later in the year starting with tobacco estimates in late May.

Dec. 1 Crop/Stocks Survey: This survey is done in all states. In Pennsylvania, it is going to about 1,600 growers to measure final acreage, yields and production for corn, soybeans, tobacco, hay, potatoes and grains stored on farms.

Each recipient has the option to respond via the Internet, and some can reply by mail. Beginning in early December, we will contact all nonrespondents so that these statistics are as accurate as possible and to meet the Jan. 11 release date.

Off-Farm Grain Stocks: This quarterly survey is conducted in all states. It was mailed to about 150 Pennsylvania grain elevators and other off-farm storage facilities. This survey, when combined with on-farm statistics, will give a post-harvest picture of grains in storage here and across the nation from 2012 crops and earlier.

The first “Grain Stocks” report of 2012 is set for Jan. 11 with other quarters released around the last day of March, June and September.

Dec. 1 Hog Survey & Chicken/Egg Surveys: Although we contact hog owners quarterly and large chicken operations every month, the Dec. 1 survey begins a new annual sample for hogs, and the chicken survey contacts many more of the medium and smaller operations in all states.

This more extensive survey sets state and national end-of-year inventory and leads to production, disposition and income statistics for the year Dec. 1, 2011, through Dec. 1, 2012.

In Pennsylvania, a letter was sent to about 250 hog owners and 70 owners of laying flocks that were selected. We call on the phone for their help during early December.

The hog report will be released on Dec. 28 while the chicken report is issued Feb. 27.

End-Of-Season Fruit, Vegetable and Strawberry Surveys: These three surveys were recently mailed to fruit and vegetable growers and processors across the nation. This involves about 1,200 operations in Pennsylvania.

It asks for acreage, production and value of sales for the major fruit, vegetables and strawberries in each state.

In Pennsylvania, the survey is limited to peaches, pears, tart cherries, grapes, sweet corn, tomatoes, snap beans, cabbage, cantaloupes, pumpkins and strawberries.

Kevin Pautler is director of the Pennsylvania Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS-PA) operated in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. For the reports mentioned below go to and click on the “Publications” tab.

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