Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 21, 2014
AGRICULTURE

Report shows Iowa fifth in number of organic farms

Nov 14, 2012

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey recently highlighted a report from the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service that Iowa’s 467 organic farms had $60.7 million in sales in 2011, which represented 2 percent of the U.S. total.

Iowa ranks fifth in the nation in the number of certified organic farms which cover 81,634 total acres.

“This report is the first of its kind to focus solely on organic production and shows the significance of the organic industry in Iowa,” Northey said. “We have seen some increased interest in organic production here in Iowa and this report does a good job of helping us better understand the industry.”

“Although NASS published the report, it would not have been possible without the voluntary cooperation of organic farmers across the State”, said Greg Thessen, director of the NASS Iowa Field Office. “The information not only showcases organic farmer’s contributions to Iowa agriculture, but the survey results will also help shape decisions regarding farm policy, crop insurance, funding allocations, availability of goods and services, as well as other key issues.”

Sales of organic crops in Iowa accounted for $29.6 million, livestock and poultry sales accounted for $6.3 million, and livestock and poultry products accounted for $24.8 million. Sales of organic vegetables were $1.09 million, organic fruit sales were $23,849, and sales of organic berries were $30,777.

Iowa lead the nation in organic soybean production and 423,350 bushels and was second in production of organic corn for grain with 2.2 million bushels. Iowa also was first in organic oat production with 426,857 bushels produced.

Iowa led the nation in organic hogs and pigs, with a peak inventory of 5,955 head and total sales of $2.68 million in 2011. Iowa also ranked first in organic goat inventory and organic milk from goats.

The full results of the 2011 Certified Organic Production Survey can be found at http://bit.ly/2011OrganicSurvey.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is one of more than a dozen state departments of agriculture and 51 private organizations that are accredited as organic certifiers. The department is accredited by the USDA’s National Organic Program to certify all aspects of the organic food chain including organic crops, organic food products, organic feed, organic livestock and handling/processing of organic products.

The department currently certifies more than 250 producers and 60 handling/processing operations located in Iowa and neighboring states.

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