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Documenting Organic Growth
Missouri Ag Connection - 03/03/2009

For the first time ever, USDA is conducting a Census of all known producers of organic crops, livestock and livestock products, as a follow-up to the 2007 Census of Agriculture. Why? In order to document for policymakers, consumers and producers, "it is imperative that data be compiled to show the importance that organic production plays in the overall food supply and how it is meeting the growing demand", said Gene Danekas, Director of USDA-NASS Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service. "NASS will be asking producers to respond to a survey during the May-June 2009 timeframe, with results being available in December 2009." This is organic producers opportunity to make known the facts about their industry.

Information will be requested that includes the amount of acreage, production and value of sales of all types of organically produced products during 2008. Production expenditures and production practices associated with the growth of these commodities will help document to policymakers and the industry the relative viability and risk associated with organic production. USDA will look closely at these data to enhance programs and insurance products that may ease the burdens and encourage expansion of organic production. Of course, marketing strategies and practices utilized by this important industry will be studied and the results used to potentially provide additional marketing opportunities.

As usual, the USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) takes the lead in compiling this data, guaranteeing all respondents the complete confidentiality of their data, as protected by U.S. law. All producers are encouraged to promptly and accurately compete and return the short survey when it arrives in their mail. The results will help producers, as well as consumers, as each strives to satisfy the needs of a growing industry with expanding demand. The Census of Agriculture is "your voice, your future and your responsibility."

For more information regarding this important activity, contact Gene Danekas, USDA-NASS at 573-876-0950.

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