Organics survey to report trends
By STEVE BROWN
When the USDA releases its latest survey of organic production in late summer, it will reflect changes that have occurred in the industry during the economic downturn.
The last survey compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service was released in 2010, but that data was collected in 2008.
"A lot has happened since then," said David Knopf, director of the NASS Washington Field Office in Olympia. "We're going to see increased volume of production, but I'm not sure what to expect in terms of value."
Some of the premiums that organic producers have seen may have softened somewhat, but likely there are more growers.
The comprehensive survey will cover 2011 data nationwide, with information broken out by state. It will include more specific data about different commodities, both crops and livestock. Marketing channels as well as production- and value-related information will be covered in the 2012 report.
Knopf said the release date is scheduled for Aug. 1, "but I don't know how firm that date is."
He referred to a recent study done by David Granatstein, sustainable agriculture specialist at WSU, that showed Washington's organic ag sector declined in 2010, with fewer producers, less acreage and lower farmgate sales.
Nationwide he predicted increased volume and more growers.