Let’s take a brief look at the overall number of organic farms in the South, brought to you by the 2007 Census of Agriculture and our industrious friends over at the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. I’ve culled the following list from the table, Organic Sales as Percent of Market Value of All Agricultural Products Sold from Certified and Exempt Organic Farms: 2008 (a host of other informational tables available via link).
|State||# Organic Farms|
- 1417/14,540 total organic farms, or about 9.7%, if my math is right. Considering the sizable land mass and population in this region, you’d hope for something slightly more substantial, say, at least ten percentage points higher. Additionally, Kentucky, Texas and Virginia skew the numbers. I include them because they contain areas that exist inside my imaginary arc of the core South. But, even absent a map, I have no doubt that the majority of organic farms in those states lie outside of my Southern boundary: near the Ohio River, toward Austin and Dallas and by D.C., respectively. The same can be said for Florida, where, climate notwithstanding, 172 organic farms seems exceedingly paltry in one of the nation’s five most populous states.
- On the other hand, this isn’t the total number of farms in the South employing organic methods or operating according to alternative sustainable certification, such as Certified Naturally Grown.
- One of these states is not like the others. How about it, North Carolina?
What about the Youngsters?
Not surprisingly, the Greenhorns focus on the numbers in the Census pertaining to young farmers, regardless of production type:
Age group: Under 25 years – 54,197
Age group: 25 to 34 years – 209,385
Total 0-34: 263,582
A quarter of a million to feed how many Americans down the line? Go, go, FFA.