cows in field

Useful Information for Organic Dairy Farmers


Census of Agriculture Coming

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is preparing to conduct the 2017 Census of Agriculture - the leading source of facts and figures about American agriculture. Conducted every five years, the census provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every U.S. state and county. If you have never received a Census of Agriculture or a survey questionnaire from NASS, please give NASS your contact information at . Note that an operation that sold or normally would have sold $1,000 or more of agricultural products in a year is considered a farm by the Census of Agriculture definition.

Producers - Legal Contract Survey

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center is collecting data on farmer experiences with production contracts—legal agreements under which they care for poultry or livestock owned by another party or grow a crop under a contract. This survey is being conducted on behalf of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Results will be used to prepare a new guide to help farmers better understand and utilize production contracts.

The data we are collecting is important to provide new resources to farmers on production contracts. We hope you will consider completing this survey. It should take no less than 10 minutes to complete. Responses will remain anonymous and no contact information will be collected from respondents. The link to the survey can be found here:

If you have questions, please contact the Drake University Agricultural Law Center:

Drake University Agricultural Law Center - 515-271-4956

Organic Certification Cost Share

The USDA announced that it is moving the organic certification cost share program from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to provide easier access to the program. FSA has over 2,100 offices across the country where applicants can apply and get more information about the program. Organic certification cost share will be available through all county FSA offices as well as the State Department of Agriculture, if a state opts to continue to offer the cost-share program. The program will be available March 20, 2017 in FSA offices. The cost share program reimburses 75 percent of a farmer’s certification costs each year up to a maximum of $750 per certification scope.

Survey of Financial ‘Well-being’ of Organic Dairy Producers

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will include a focus on organic dairy production in its annual survey of the financial well-being of American farm families.

The agency’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will start sending representatives to dairy farms nationwide in January 2017 as part of the final data collection phase of its 2016 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

This year, the survey places additional focus on corn, and conventional and organic dairy sectors. The last time ARMS focused on the dairy sector was in 2010 and focused only on the conventional dairy sector.

ARMS, a joint effort between NASS and USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), is an annual program that gathers in-depth information on production practices, costs, and financial well-being of American farm families. ARMS targets select commodities on a rotational basis.

All dairy farmers selected to participate in the 2016 ARMS will be notified by a mailed postcard. After that, trained enumerators/interviewers will make appointments and visit the participating farms to gather the information through personal interviews. The visits will begin in late January and will continue through early April 2017.

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