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Survey Shows Economic Gains for Organic Farmers

July 22, 2004

CONTACTS: Bob Scowcroft (831) 426-6606; Erica Walz (435) 826-4579

(SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) The Organic Farming Research Foundation today
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 highlight 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

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 products.

. 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.

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."

OFRF surveys collect and disseminate information on the demographics,
production, marketing and research priorities of organic farmers in the U.S.
OFRF survey data has been used by organizations and researchers to address
research questions that help to better understand organic farming conditions in
the U.S. In addition to making the results available in booklet format, OFRF
provides raw survey data to organizations and academics upon request for
research purposes of benefit to the organic farming community.

The survey 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 at The survey was conducted with
support from the True North Foundation, Wallace Genetic Foundation, the USDA
Agricultural Marketing Service, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation - Barkley
Fund, The Forrest C. Lattner Foundation and contributors to OFRF's general
program fund.

# # #

The Organic Farming Research Foundation's purpose is to foster the improvement
and widespread adoption of organic farming practices. To that end, our mission
is to sponsor research related to organic farming; to disseminate research
results to organic farmers and to growers interested in adopting organic
production systems; and to educate the public and decision makers about
organic farming issues.

Organic Farming Research Foundation
PO Box 440
Santa Cruz, CA 95061-0440
831.426.6606 tel
831.426.6670 fax