2019 Organic Survey

Frequently Asked Questions:
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    What is the Organic Survey?

    The 2019 Organic Survey is a complete inventory of all known organic producers who are certified, exempt from certification in the Unites States (those grossing less than $5,000 annually from organic sales), and those producers transitioning to certified organic production. This study serves as a census of all certified organic operations, as directed under the FY2018 Farm Appropriations Bill.

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    Why should I respond to the Organic Survey?

    Your responses will provide important, detailed, unbiased information to help determine the economic impact of certified organic production at the national and state levels. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, total certified organic product sales by farms in the U.S. have continued to show substantial growth over the last few years. Data published from the 2019 Organic Survey will help provide the industry with a reliable source of timely information to use in justifying research projects and fund requests that benefit producers.

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    Who will use the data published from the Organic Survey?

    The agriculture industry and all levels of government use the information to prepare a wide variety of certified organic agriculture-related programs, economic models, legislative initiatives, and market analysis and feasibility studies. These programs directly affect the life and communities of growers and help to improve agriculture production technologies and practices. Specific examples of benefits to producers include:

    • Agencies such as USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) use the data to evaluate and establish crop insurance programs for organic producers
    • Farm organizations use the information to lobby Congress or state legislatures for funding and support of certified organic production programs
    • Government, extension, and university scientists use the information to determine research needs
    • The information could be used to calculate disaster payments for producers
    • Suppliers to the certified organic industry use the data to plan production and marketing of new products

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    How will the survey be conducted?

    Survey forms will be mailed in December 2019 to approximately 22,000 producers nationwide. Responses are due online, by mail, or phone by January 10, 2020.

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    Must I respond to the survey?

    Yes. The Organic Survey is part of the Census of Agriculture program; as such, all those who receive a questionnaire are required to respond by federal law (Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113).

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    Can I respond online?

    Yes. Survey participants are encouraged to use the secure online response system at www.agcounts.usda.gov. The online questionnaire is user friendly, accessible on most electronic devices, and saves you valuable time by calculating totals and automatically skipping questions not applicable to your operation. Additionally, responding online improves data quality and saves resources. All you need to get started is your survey code. If you misplace the letter with your survey code, you can also find it on the mail label and in the top left corner of your report form.

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    What types of questions will be asked?

    The survey will look at certified organic farming and ranching activities during 2019, 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.

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    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), and producers transitioning to organic production.

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    Will my information be kept confidential?

    Absolutely. Respondents are guaranteed by law (Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113) 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.

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    When will results of the survey be released?

    Survey results will be published in October 2020 and will be available at www.nass.usda.gov/go/organic..

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    What if I want more information or need help completing my form?

    Call toll-free (888) 424-7828 or visit www.nass.usda.gov/go/organic.

Last Modified: 11/18/2020