Sales of organic agricultural production in Arizona decreased 9 percent in 2016, when Arizona farms produced and sold $118 million in certified organic commodities, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Arizona Field Office. Results of the 2016 Certified Organic Survey show vegetable sales accounted for 68 percent of the total certified organic sales. The number of certified organic farms in Arizona was 38, a decrease of 10 farms from 2015.
The top certified organic commodities produced and sold last year in Arizona based on Value of Sales were spinach ($24.7 million), lettuces ($18.8 million) and other vegetables ($16.7 million). Other top organic crops sold which were publishable were berries, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, citrus, and herbs. Other Arizona grown commodities that were certified organic, but not publishable due to confidentiality rules included dates, milk, pecans, strawberries, and various field crops.
One possible reason for the decrease in Arizona? Herbs. The quantity of certified organic herbs produced and sold in 2016 (just under 843,000 Lbs.) was 19 percent higher than in 2014 (just over 707, 000 Lbs.), but a 35 percent decrease from last year’s certified organic herbs (almost 1,289,000 Lbs.). Consequently, the value of sales of herbs dropped 39 percent from 2015.
Overall, sales of U.S. organic agricultural production increased by 23 percent in 2016, when U.S. Farms produced and sold $7.6 billion in certified organic commodities. The number of certified organic farms in the country increased 11 percent to 14,217.
California, with $2.9 billion in certified organic sales, continued to lead the nation in certified sales, accounting for 38 percent of the U.S. total. It also had the largest share of certified organic acres and farms. Three states had more than 1,000 certified farms: California (2,713), Wisconsin (1,276), and New York (1,059). Ten states accounted for 77 percent of U.S. certified organic sales, virtually the same share as in 2015 and 2014.
NASS conducted the 2016 Certified Organic Survey in conjunction with USDA’s Risk Management Agency which relies on the information to expand crop insurance options and set price elections for organic production.
The survey is a census of all known U.S. farmers and ranchers with certified organic production in 2016. Producers must meet the standards set out by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program and be certified compliant by an approved agent of the program. Survey results are available at www.nass.usda.gov/organics or the Quick Stats database at https://quickstats.nass.usda.gov.