Organic in the Badger State

This recent piece from UW News offers up highlights from Organic Agriculture in Wisconsin: 2012 Status Report. The report, a collaboration between the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, provides an overview of the organic farming industry in our fertile state.

As the news release summarizes, “Wisconsin has approximately 1,200 organic farms — up about 60 percent from 2005 — and leads the nation in number of organic dairy farms. Milk accounts for about two-thirds of the value of the state’s organic farm product sales, while 23 percent come from crops — including nurseries and greenhouses — and another 13 percent came from livestock and poultry and related products.”

Wisconsin is a big organic producer in many areas, as summarized below in a set of graphs from the report. Many of these rankings by number of farms are roughly similar to rankings that compare dollar values of production, with one notable exception. Even though Wisconsin is #1 in number of organic dairy farms and California doesn’t make the top 5, “Wisconsin ranks second in organic milk sales, with its $85 million in sales accounting for 11.4 percent of the U.S. total…. California leads organic milk sales with 17.8 percent of the U.S. total.” This ranking discrepancy between number of dairy farms and output is likely due in part to the number of smaller family farms still in operation in Wisconsin compared to the very large dairy farms that predominate in California.

For more details about the successes and challenges facing organic farming in Wisconsin, check out the news story or the report’s website.


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