With wide-scale survey, U.S.D.A. to study organics

by Josh Sosland
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture will conduct the first-ever, wide-scale survey of organic farming in the United States, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said April 23.

The survey, which will be disseminated this spring, will look at different aspects of organic farming in the 2008 calendar year — from production and marketing practices to income and expenses, the U.S.D.A. said.

The Department said it will look both at operations currently under organic production as well as farms transitioning from conventional to organic production methods.

"The Organic Production Survey is a direct response to the growing interest in organics among consumers, farmers and businesses," Mr. Vilsack said. "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."

The Department said survey results will "help shape future decisions regarding farm policy, funding allocations, availability of goods and services, community development and other key issues." For growers, the U.S.D.A. said the survey will help lead to more informed decisions about their farming operations.

The surveys will be mailed to growers by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S.D.A. in early May. The producers will be asked to respond by June 17 with results to be published in the winter of 2009.

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