SANTA CRUZ, California, July 22, 2004: The Organic Farming
Research Foundation released the complete results of
the Fourth National Organic Farmers' Survey: Sustaining
Organic Farms in a Changing Organic Marketplace.
"The survey results show that there are many benefits
for farmers in the organic marketplace, but also highlights
areas of need," said OFRF Executive Director Bob
Scowcroft. "Organic price premiums are key to organic
farmers' economic success, and a primary goal of our
industry should be to help farmers expand markets for
organic product and obtain premiums that maintain economic
success and stability."
OFRF's fourth national survey results comprise the
most detailed set of data currently available about
organic farming operations in the U.S. The survey gathered
information on a wide variety of topics related to organic
markets and marketing in 2002. The survey also focused
on significant issues that effect organic markets, such
as organic farmers’ perceived risk of contamination
of certified organic crops by genetically modified organisms,
and information and services most needed by organic
farmers to help with marketing their farm products.
As with past surveys, OFRF also collected key demographic
and production information.
Key marketing results include:
- Organic markets: Organic farmers reported steady
and expanding markets. 33% of respondents noted that
their markets had held steady. 44% reported market
- Organic prices: 26% of survey respondents indicated
an increase in prices received for their organic products.
52% reported that prices held steady, while 15% noted
a decrease in the price received for their organic
- Organic price premiums: 92% of respondents obtained
organic price premiums on some portion of their organic
products; 41% obtained organic price premiums on all
their products. 30% obtained organic premiums on at
least half the volume of their organic product.
In April 2002, OFRF mailed a 22-page survey to certified
organic farmers throughout the U.S., with 1,034 farmers
responding, an 18% response rate. The survey population
was developed from producer certification lists voluntarily
provided by organic certification agencies. The Fourth
National Organic Farmers’ Survey: Sustaining Organic
Farms in a Changing Organic Marketplace is OFRF’s
first survey to focus specifically on organic farmers’
experiences in the organic market.
results in booklet format are available to
the public for a suggested donation of $10
to cover printing and postage. The complete
results have also been posted on OFRF's website
One ominous finding of the study was organic farmers’ observations regarding
the adverse financial and operational impacts associated
with contamination of organically certified crops by
genetically modified organisms (GMOs). National standards
for organic products as implemented by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture exclude recombinant-DNA technologies
from use in organic farming.
OFRF's survey included eight sections: Farm profile;
Production and product detail; Marketing your organic
products; Organic market conditions, 2001; Information
and services; Marketing orders and organic; GMOs and
organic; and More about you and your farm (demographics).
Erica Walz, OFRF Communications Program Manager, who
coordinated the survey process stated, "We know
of no other study like this in the nation. With over
1,000 fields of data, this survey should be of interest
to policy makers, research scientists and consumers
interested in receiving a high definition picture of
organic agriculture in America."