More organic corn is grown than any other organic field crop, according to the first-ever USDA-certified organic farm survey from the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Overall, $3.5 billion worth of organically grown commodities were produced in 2011, according to the survey, which was released in October.
Organic corn was valued at $101.5 million in 2011. The only other field crops that were worth more than $50 million in sales were alfalfa dry hay and winter wheat, accounting for $69.5 million and $54 million in sales, respectively.
Organic acreage, farm numbers and sales don’t stack up the same. When it comes to acreage, Wisconsin leads the nation with more than 110,000 organic acres harvested last year, followed by New York with 97,000 acres and California with 91,000 acres. California topped the list of most organic farms in 2011 with 1,898. Other regions rounding out the top five are: Wisconsin, 870; New York, 597; Washington, 493; and Iowa, 467. States’ organic sales break down differently, but California still led the nation (in 2008) with $1.15 billion, or 36.3% of all organic sales. The other four states comprising the top five for sales, but with less than 10% each, were Washington, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Texas.
Crops made up 62.9% of organic sales, followed by livestock and poultry products at 29.5%. Of the crops, vegetables topped the list with $1.1 billion in sales, followed by fruits, field crops, berries, tree nuts and maple syrup. U.S. certified and exempt organic farms incurred average production expenses of $171,978 compared to $109,359 for all farms, but that difference is compensated for by higher incomes. Organic farms averaged $414,726 in sales versus $134,807 for all farms, according to the 2007 Census of Agriculture.