USDA Plans Organic Farming Survey

The Agriculture Department will make its first in-depth survey of organic farming this spring and will send an eight-page questionnaire to known organic farmers. The survey will ask which crops and livestock are produced, how they are grown and where they are sold. Questionnaires will be mailed in early May with responses due by mail or Internet by June 17, with results published by the end of this year. The survey will look at many aspects of organic farming during 2008, including production and marketing practices and income and expenses. It will focus not only on operations currently engaged in organic production, but also on those making the transition to organic agriculture.  The results will help shape future decisions regarding farm policy, funding allocations, availability of goods and services, community development and other key issues. In addition, the information can help producers make informed decisions about the future of their own farming operations.  The 2007 Census of Agriculture counted 20,437 farms with land in organic production and sales of $1.7 billion. Organic farming is a small part of American agriculture but commonly described as a rapidly growing segment. Organic farming accounted for 2.6 million acres in 2007.