Thursday, April 16, 2009

2007 Census of Agriculture Results

This is the first year that the USDA generated a statistic relating to Community Supported Agriculture. They found that there were a total of 12,549 farms that 'marketed products through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)'. This number is based on the total number of farms in the US (for 2007)- 2,204,792. This means that less than 1 % of farms in the US are participating in a CSA arrangement. Also, it should be noted that the wording in the Census can be confusing. As far as we can tell, 12,549 is not representative of the actual number of CSA operations. The number represents how many farms, participated, in some way, in a CSA 'arrangement'. For instance, there could be a farm that runs and operates a CSA, but several other farms occasionally bring their product and market them through this CSA. The states above 1 % were: Maine (1.95 %), New Hampshire (2.09 %), Vermont (2.35 %), Connecticut (2.87 %), Rhode Island (2.71 %), Massachusetts (2.07 %), New York (1.00 %), Washington (1.11 %), California (1.18 %), Hawai'i (1.80 %), and Alaska (2.92 %). Let us know your opinion about this.

1 comment:

  1. I think it is an entirely useful statistic -- I know there has been some grousing on the csa listserv about the statistical analysis and whatnot, but I think this sounds like a reasonable number.

    When we talk to the media, they just want a general number, they do not want to hear about how the survey was generated and the like.

    I would be much more wary about the number of overall farms -- 2,204,792 seems like a very high number for the number of actual working farms. I assume this is just a number that represents the number of people who claim to own a farm for tax purposes.