USDA: NYS ranks third in nation for certified organic farms

By WKTV News

The 2011 Organic Production Survey counted 9,140 certified organic farms and ranches in the United States, comprising 3.6 million acres of land. Among those, New York State ranks third in the nation in the number of certified organic farms.

According to the USDA, the total certified organic product sales for the United States was 3.5 billion dollars, up 340 million dollars from 2008. The average organic producer had sales of $414,725 in 2011, compared to $217,675 in 2008. The top three states by number of farms were: California with 1,898, Wisconsin with 870, and New York with 597 certified organic farms.

In 2011, New York's certified organic farms sold a total of $107 million in organically produced commodities, including $38.5 million in crops sales and $68.3 million in sales of livestock, poultry and their products. Average sales were $186,668 per farm.

Fifty-six percent, or $60.2 million of total organic sales in New York were from milk from cows. Milk cow sales totaled $3.77 million.

Crop sales included over $22.1 million from field crops, $14.5 million from vegetables, and $1.36 million from fruit and berries.

In New York just 10 percent of sales were direct to consumers, via farm stands, farmers' markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), and other arrangements, while 83 percent of New York organic sales were through wholesale channels, including processors, millers and packers, and grower cooperatives. Seven percent of New York sales were direct-to-retail buyers
such as natural food stores, supermarkets, and restaurants.

This report, in addition to many others, is available free of charge at the USDA website.

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