Survey shows Minnesota a leader in organic farmingST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota ranks in the top ten of states with the largest number of certified organic farms according to a new survey by the U.S.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota ranks in the top ten of states with the largest number of certified organic farms according to a new survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The 2008 Organic Production Survey also found that while organic farmers enjoy higher sales of their products, they also incur more expenses to raise them compared to U.S. farms overall.
The survey included data from 14,540 U.S. farms and ranches that reported they were either USDA certified organic or were exempt from certification because their sales totaled less than $5,000.
According to the 2008 survey, Minnesota’s organic sector generated $69 million in sales. Nationwide, 2008 organic sales totaled $3.16 billion.
Minnesota placed 7th with 550 organic farms, while California was first with 2,714. Minnesota ranked first nationally in the production of organic soybeans and in the top three in acreage of other important farm crops such as corn, oats and barley. The state ranked 4th in the number of farms transitioning to organic, with 84 farms reporting land in transition.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) organic specialist Meg Moynihan says it’s encouraging that 78 percent of those surveyed plan to maintain or increase their organic production over the next five years.
“Transitioning to or starting out in organic farming takes time, money and management,” said Moynihan. “But our organic growers are finding that despite the challenges, growing consumer demand and new organic markets are making it worth the effort.”
Moynihan says the USDA report echoes a 2009 MDA survey that found 96 percent of Minnesota organic farmers planned to maintain or increase their organic production.
Complete results of the USDA’s 2008 Organic Production Survey are available at http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Online_Highlights/Organics/