USDA to Check Changing Face of Agriculture

Survey of nation's organic farmers will be conducted.

Officials at USDA want to know how the growth of organic farming is changing the face of U.S. agriculture. This spring, the department will conduct the first-ever, wide-scale survey of organic farming in the United States. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Organic Production Survey is a direct response to the growing interest in organics among consumers, farmers, and businesses.

"This is an opportunity for organic producers to share their voices and help ensure the continued growth and sustainability of organic farming in the United States," Vilsack said. The 2007 Census of Agriculture counted more than 20,000 U.S. farms engaged in organic production.

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service will mail the survey in early May to all known organic producers in the United States, who are asked to respond by June 17. NASS will publish results in winter 2009.

The survey will look at many aspects of organic farming during the 2008 calendar year, from production and marketing practices, to income and expenses. It will focus not only on operations that are currently engaged in organic production, but also on those making the transition to organic agriculture.

The results will help shape future decisions regarding farm policy, funding allocations, availability of goods and services, community development and other key issues. In addition, the information can help producers make informed decisions about the future of their own farming operations.

Participants can mail back their forms or complete the survey online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

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