Certified Organic Survey – 2021 Summary

In December 2022 the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the Certified Organic Survey 2021 Summary. As you can see from the chart above there is a lot of data and Texas is continuing to grow in organics. This is not a survey of every organic grower in Texas since we have 383 based on the Integrity Database, but it was a good number at 258 farms or 67%. It would be great to get all the numbers but anyone who does survey work will tell you 67% is really good!

Of the 258 farms they have 240,806 acres in organic agriculture. 247 farms have 198,990 acres in cropland, and 58 farms have 41,816 acres in pastures. How does this break down in value? 238 farms with crops including nursery and greenhouse have sales of $179,324,000 each year. 27 farms sell livestock and poultry animals valued at $45,736,000 each year and 20 livestock and poultry producers sell $347,152,000 in animal products each year, for a total of $572,212,000 Texas organic products sold every year.

What is the breakdown on farm size? 76% of the 258 farms or 196 farms sell $100,000 or more in commodities equaling 99.56% of sales. In fact, 95.77% of all organic sales in Texas come from producers selling $500,000 or more every year. Now you may think this is just Texas, but in general this is pretty much the same breakdown for all the states above Texas in sales (Pennsylvania, Washington and California).

I pulled all the Texas numbers out for these various crops below. Remember these numbers are for the 258 farms surveyed and are not fully reflective of the total yearly production of organic in Texas.

This the Texas numbers for livestock production and represents a large share of Texas’ organic production.

This is interesting and represents a look at what farms spent their money on as it relates to organic purchases. Organic feed numbers are going to be huge for 2022 and probably into 2023 and you better add labor into that as well!

This is fairly self-explanatory. It is a list of practices and how many of the 258 farms used the practice. Hopefully we can continue to improve all of them!

These were some general questions asked as a part of the survey and I have put the results here. The fact that only 49 farms take advantage of the $500 Certification Cost Share program makes me wonder if the process is just too difficult? The small number with an illegal practice is really pretty good. The few illegal practices mean that we are getting GMO contamination, which we knew, and that growers may have used something they thought was legal – at least that is what I choose to believe – but wasn’t!

Production issues continue to be the main problem with organic production in Texas and according to my surveys and other surveys, weeds are a top priority. I am not sure what all is meant by regulatory and hopefully someone will let me know!

Last Chart, I promise! This just tells me that some older farmers are discovering organic!

Here is a link to the summary if interested!

Author: Bob Whitney, Regents Fellow & Extension Organic Specialist

Agriculturalist, extension educator and researcher, organic agriculture enthusiast and promoter, international program developer, Christian, husband, father and friend.

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