Tri-State Neighbor

Image courtesy of Bill Whittaker

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey hailed a report from the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) that Iowa’s 467 organic farms had $60.7 million in sales in 2011, representing 2 percent of the U.S. total.

Iowa ranks fifth in the nation in the number of certified organic farms, which cover 81,634 total acres.

“This report is the first of its kind to focus solely on organic production and shows the significance of the organic industry in Iowa,” Northey said. “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.”

Sales of organic crops in Iowa accounted for $29.6 million, while 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 led 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 also was first in organic oat production at 426,857 bushels.

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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