2016 Certified Organic Survey released

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released results of the 2016 Certified Organic Survey. Precise and current information on organic farm sales and acreage is vital for all organic stakeholders. The Organic Trade Association welcomes USDA’s commitment to providing important information on organic agriculture through its farmer-based organic production census but notes that certifier-based estimates show even higher numbers. For instance, NASS reported in December that information from U.S. accredited organic certifying agents showed 14,861 U.S. organic farms in operation in 2015, with 5.3 million acres farmed organically, compared to the 14,217 organic farms and 5.0 million organic acres NASS now counts for 2016. Overall growth in sales of organic agricultural production and acreage is positive news. However, the just released National Agricultural Statistics Service findings highlight that dramatic growth in livestock products does not parallel growth in livestock feed grains. This underscores the need to shore up import oversight and increase support for domestic producers through a stronger crop insurance safety net, organic research, market access, and organic data collection. Organic Trade Association Farm Bill priorities call for adequate funding for the organic sector to collect and improve information vital to maintain stable markets, create risk management tools, track production trends, and increase exports. The organic industry cannot continue to thrive without this federal support. Organic Trade Association staff will be analyzing the newly released data more closely to see what the implications are for specific organic sectors. Contact Nate Lewis, Farm Policy Director, with questions.

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