USDA Organic Farming 2014 Survey and Results

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USDA Organic Survey

NASS is excited to announce the upcoming release of the 2014 Organic Survey results on August 31 at Noon ET. This report will provide the latest data for all known U.S. organic producers that are certified, exempt from certification, and transitioning to organic production.

In addition, NASS will conduct an organic survey in fiscal year 2016, which runs from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. The 2015 Organic Survey will focus on providing data in support of the USDA’s Risk Management Agency programs, such as providing price elections for organic crops certified by the USDA organic regulations.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Survey

1. What is the Organic Survey?

The 2014 Organic Survey is a complete inventory of all known organic producers that are certified, exempt from certification in the Unites States (those grossing less than $5,000 annually from organic sales), and those producers transitioning to organic production. This study serves as a census of all organic operations, as directed under the FY2014 Farm Appropriations Bill.

2. Why should I respond to the Organic Survey?

Your responses will provide important, detailed, unbiased information to help determine the economic impact of organic production at the national and state levels. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, total organic product sales by farms in the U.S. have continued to show substantial growth over the last few years, increasing by 83 percent since 2007. Additionally, the sales from 14,326 farms with certified or exempt organic production totaled over $3.1 billion in 2012. Data published from the 2014 Organic Survey will help provide the industry with a reliable source of timely information to use in justifying research projects and fund requests to benefit producers.

3. Who will use the data published from the Organic Survey?

The agriculture industry and all levels of government use the information to prepare a wide variety of organic agriculture-related programs, economic models, legislative initiatives, and market analysis and feasibility studies. These programs directly affect the life and communities of growers and help to improve agriculture production technologies and practices. Specific examples of benefits to producers include

  • Agencies such as USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) use the data to evaluate and establish crop insurance programs for organic producers
  • Farm organizations use the information to lobby Congress or state legislatures for funding and support of organic production programs
  • Government, extension, and university scientists use the information to determine research needs
  • The information could be used to calculate disaster payments for producers
  • Suppliers to the organic industry use the data to plan production and marketing of new products

4. How will the survey be conducted?

Survey forms will be mailed in early January to approximately 17,000 producers nationwide. Responses are due by mail by February 13, 2015 or online by April 3, 2015. To ensure the most complete and accurate accounting of organic agriculture in the United States, the 2014 Organic Survey is a census of all known U.S. certified and exempt organic operations that are currently on NASS’s list frame from the 2011 Certified Organic Survey and the 2012 Census of Agriculture, as well as new certified organic entities obtained from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

5. Can I respond online?

Yes. Survey participants are encouraged to use the secure, convenient online response system. Take the Survey Here: www.agcensus.usda.gov. This not only saves you time, but it saves the government money on return postage and data entry. You will need the ID number printed on the mailing label of your survey form.

6. What types of questions will be asked?

The survey will look at organic farming and ranching activities during 2014, including:

  • Production of field crops, vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, berries, livestock and poultry;
  • Production practices such as pest management, cover crops, crop rotation, rotational grazing, conservation tillage, water management and buffer zones;
  • Production expenses;
  • Marketing practices, including wholesale, retail and direct-to-consumer sales; and
  • Value-added production and processing.

7. In order for me to participate in the survey, does my operation have to be certified organic?

No. The survey includes USDA certified organic producers, organic producers exempt from certification (those grossing less than $5,000 annually from organic sales), and producers transitioning to organic production.

8. Must I respond to the survey?

Yes. United States law (Title 7, U.S. Code) requires all those who receive a survey to respond.

9. Will my information be kept confidential?

Absolutely. Respondents are guaranteed by law (Title 7, U.S. Code) that their individual information will be kept confidential. NASS uses the information only for statistical purposes and publishes data only in tabulated totals. The report cannot be used for purposes of taxation, investigation, or regulation. The privacy of individual records is also protected from disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act.

10. When will results of the survey be released?

Survey results will be published in August 2015 and will be available online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

11. What if I want more information or need help completing my form?

Call the toll-free number listed on your survey form – 888.424.7828, or visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.