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Wisconsin is a Leader in Organic Farming

By: WSAW Staff
By: WSAW Staff

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE:

Governor Doyle Announces Wisconsin

Leads Nation in Organic Farming

Wisconsin is Second in U.S. with over 1,200 Organic Farms on Nearly 200,000 Acres

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle announced today that Wisconsin is second in the nation in the number of organic farms, according to numbers released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural (USDA) Statistics Service.

“Farming is the heritage and the future of Wisconsin, and we’ve worked hard to strengthen and diversify agriculture across the state,” Governor Doyle said. “Organic farming is one of the areas that Wisconsin is leading the way, and I am proud to support these efforts.”

According to the USDA’s survey, Wisconsin has 1,222 organic farms, the second highest in the nation, behind California. Wisconsin organic farms use 195,603 acres of land. Organic sales in the state total $132.8 million, including $30.1 million in crops sales and $102.6 million in sales of livestock, poultry and their products. Sixty-four percent of total organic sales in Wisconsin were from milk from cows.

Organic farms in Wisconsin had average sales and production expenses similar to all farms statewide. Organic operations had average sales of $115,247 in 2008, compared with average sales of $114,288 for all types of farms, as reported in the 2007 Census of Agriculture. Production expenditures averaged $77,760 per organic farm, compared with the average of $86,011 for all farms.

Most Wisconsin organic producers sold their products locally, with 56 percent of sales occurring less than 100 miles from the farm. In Wisconsin, 7 percent of sales were direct to consumers via farm stands, farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture, and other arrangements, while over 75 percent of Wisconsin organic sales were to wholesale channels. These percentages are consistent with those seen at the national level.

Under Governor Doyle’s leadership, Wisconsin has invested and promoted its diverse farm economy. Incentives to help modernize the dairy industry have helped increase milk production to record levels and have strengthened the state's status as the number one producer of cheese in the country. At the same time, efforts to strengthen diversity in agriculture have made Wisconsin a leading producer of cranberries, specialty cheeses, organic vegetables and many other products. To enable successful farming for future generations, the state's best farmland is protected under the Working Lands Initiative that Governor Doyle signed into law in 2009.

In his State of the State Address, Governor Doyle called on the Legislature to extend the Dairy Modernization Tax Credit to help hard-pressed dairy farmers invest in their operations. The Governor also called for the development of a Food Processing Modernization Tax Credit to help companies invest in modern agriculture, expand operations, and create jobs.

Complete results of the 2008 Organic Production Survey are available at:

http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Online_Highlights/Organics/

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