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Organic produce sales topped $1 billion, USDA report says

WASHINGTON (February 3, 2010)—The nation’s organic farms and ranches have higher average sales and higher average production expenses than U.S. farms overall, according to results of the 2008 Organic Production Survey released Feb. 3 by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Organic fruits and vegetables were planted on more than 216,000 acres in the U.S. in 2008, and generated about $1.19 billion in sales.

Those are among the highlights of a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report, the government’s first-ever comprehensive survey of organic agriculture.

Released Feb. 3, the Organic Production Survey used the most recent Census Bureau data to generate national and state-level data on organic farm numbers and acreage, sales, production, marketing practices and more.

More than 14,000 U.S. farms grew or raised organic agricultural products in 2008, totaling $3.16 billion in sales, according to the report. Of those, 3,948 grew vegetables (including potatoes) and melons; 3,279 grew other nonberry fruits and tree nuts; and 1,596 grew berries.

About 2.2 million acres of U.S. farmland were devoted to organic crop production in 2008. Organic vegetables and melons were grown on 132,776 acres, while other nonberry fruits took up 78,358 acres and berries 5,495 acres.

Measured by crop value, the top organic vegetable and melon producers were, in order, California, Washington, Florida, Arizona and Oregon.

The top nonberry/nonmelon fruit producers were California, Washington, Florida, Oregon and Arizona. The top berry producers were California, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin and Georgia.

Complete results of the 2008 Organic Production Survey are available at www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Online_Highlights/Organics/.

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