USDA Organic Census

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USDA Organic Census

Post  tlcfh on Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:19 am

From Debi Kelly, MO Sustainable Ag Coordinator:
Many university and agency folks use census numbers to "justify" their
programming efforts for certain audiences and to "justify" their
background information and need for funding in grants.

MY thoughts on this: I believe that a lot of people who are growing organically go uncounted in these surveys, for one reason or another. The most frequent reasons I've heard of people choosing not to participate are: 1) I don't have time; and 2) It's none of the guvmints dang bidness what I do.

It is in the best interests of all who care about their food that organic producers get counted. The more there are, the more the USDA, the land grant universities, the extension services, and the legislators are FORCED to care about allocating more reserach to sustainable ag. So stand up and be counted, and encourage everyone you know who produces organically, whether certified, noncertified, in transition or whatever, to be counted as well. In numbers there is strength!!!


The info below is from an email I received through the Growing Growers discussion group:

ORGANIC PROUCTION SURVEY KEY MESSAGES
The 2007 Census of Agriculture showed over 20,000 farms engaged in organic production in the United States.

As a follow-up to the 2007 Census, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting its first-ever, wide-scale survey of organic agricultural producers as well as producers in transition to organic production in the United States.

Through the Organic Production Survey, NASS will gather additional information on how the growth of organic farming is changing the face of U.S. agriculture.

This survey gives organic producers an opportunity to share their voices and help ensure the continued growth and sustainability of organic farming in the United States.

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

The survey will look at many aspects of organic farming during the 2008 calendar year, including:
 Production of field crops, vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, berries, livestock and poultry
 Production practices, including pest management, cover crops, crop rotation, rotational grazing, conservation tillage, water management and buffer zones
 Production expenses
 Marketing practices, including wholesale, retail and direct-to-consumer sales
 Value-added production and processing

Respondents are guaranteed by law (Title 7, U.S. Code) that their individual information will be kept confidential. NASS uses the information only for statistical purposes and publishes data only in tabulated totals. The report cannot be used for purposes of taxation, investigation, or regulation. The privacy of individual Census records is also protected from disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act.

Survey forms will be mailed in early May, 2009 and response are required by June 17.

Respondents are encouraged to complete the Organic Production Survey online via a secure Web-based response system at www.agcensus.usda.gov. Online response not only saves the respondent time, but will save the government money on return postage and data entry. To enter the online system, respondents will need the ID number printed on the mailing label of their survey form.

Survey results will be published in late 2009 and will be available online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

For more information or for help completing your form, call 888.424.7828 (toll-free), or visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.


[b]ORGANIC PRODUCTION SURVEY FAQS[b]
What is the Organic Production Survey?
The Organic Production Survey, which is a supplement to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first wide-scale survey of organic agricultural producers and producers in transition to organic agriculture in the United States.

Why should I respond to the Organic Survey?
As with the 2007 Census of Agriculture, the Organic Production Survey is your voice, your future and your responsibility. Your responses will ensure the continued growth and sustainability of organic production in the United States by helping shape decisions regarding farm policy, funding allocations, availability of goods and services, and many other key issues. In addition, survey results can help you make informed decisions about the future of your own organic operation.

How will the survey be conducted?
Survey forms will be mailed in early May, 2009 to the over 20,000 producers nationwide who indicated in the 2007 Census of Agriculture that they are engaged in organic production. Responses are due by June 17, 2009.

Can I respond online?
Yes. Survey participants are encouraged to use the secure, convenient online response system at www.agcensus.usda.gov. This not only saves you time, but it saves the government money on return postage and data entry. You will need the ID number printed on the mailing label of your survey form.

What types of questions will be asked?
The survey will look at organic farming activities during 2008, including:
• Production of field crops, vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, berries, livestock and poultry;
• Production practices such as pest management, cover crops, crop rotation, rotational grazing, conservation tillage, water management and buffer zones;
• Production expenses;
• Marketing practices, including wholesale, retail and direct-to-consumer sales; and
• Value-added production and processing.

In order for me to participate in the survey, does my operation have to be certified organic?
No. The survey includes USDA certified organic producers, organic producers exempt from certification (those grossing less than $5,000 annually from organic sales), producers transitioning to organic production, and non-certified producers.

Must I respond to the survey?
Yes. United States law (Title 7, U.S. Code) requires all those who receive a survey to respond.

Will my information be kept confidential?
Absolutely. Respondents are guaranteed by law (Title 7, U.S. Code) that their individual information will be kept confidential. NASS uses the information only for statistical purposes and publishes data only in tabulated totals. The report cannot be used for purposes of taxation, investigation, or regulation. The privacy of individual records is also protected from disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act.

When will results of the survey be released?
Survey results will be published in late 2009 and will be available online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

What if I want more information or need help completing my form?
Call the toll-free number listed on your survey form – 888.424.7828, or visit www.agcensus.usda.gov

tlcfh

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