Organics hit agricultural mainstream with latest USDA census

Jan 29, 2015

The Salinas Valley is seeing a growing number of organic farming operations as the demand for organically-grown produce rises.
Credit Flickr user: dianejp

Farmers and ranchers throughout the Central Coast and around the nation are being asked to take part in a first-of-its-kind government survey on organic food production.

It's part of the US Department of Agriculture's regular census, but marks the first time questions involving organics have been included.

Congressman Sam Farr is the ranking member on the House Agricultural Appropriations Committee and represents much of the Salinas Valley. He also helped legitimize the organic industry in California when he was a state assemblyman. 

Farr says he's thrilled organic production is now part of the census. 

"This is really great news," said Farr. "It means that in the agricultural sector, organics is being treated as much as commodities and everything else."

Farr says it's crucial that farmers and ranchers fill out the forms with accurate information regarding their organic food production, because the USDA needs good data to make appropriate financial decisions.

This USDA survey will help determine the economic impact of organics and help decide which programs and services are needed for certified growers.