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Organic gets growing in Iowa

The USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) released the results of its 2011 Certified Organic Production Survey showing that Iowa's 467 organic farms had $60.7 million in sales in 2011, which represented 2% of the U.S. total. The report also showed that Iowa ranks fifth in the nation in the number of certified organic farms which cover 81,634 total acres.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey highlighted the findings, saying, “This report is the first of its kind to focus solely on organic production and shows the significance of the organic industry in Iowa. We have seen some increased interest in organic production here in Iowa, and this report does a good job of helping us better understand the industry.”

“Although NASS published the report, it would not have been possible without the voluntary cooperation of organic farmers across the state," said Greg Thessen, director of the NASS Iowa field office. “The information not only showcases organic farmers' contributions to Iowa agriculture, but the survey results will also help shape decisions regarding farm policy, crop insurance, funding allocations, availability of goods and services, as well as other key issues.”

Key facts and figures

  • Sales of organic crops in Iowa accounted for $29.6 million, livestock and poultry sales accounted for $6.3 million, and livestock and poultry products accounted for $24.8 million. Sales of organic vegetables were $1.09 million, organic fruit sales were $23,849, and sales of organic berries were $30,777.
  • Iowa leads the nation in organic soybean production at 423,350 bushels and was second in production of organic corn for grain with 2.2 million bushels. Iowa was also first in organic oat production with 426,857 bushels produced.
  • Iowa led the nation in organic hogs and pigs, with a peak inventory of 5,955 head and total sales of $2.68 million in 2011. Iowa also ranked first in organic goat inventory and organic milk from goats.

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