Tobacco Remains Virginia’s Top Organic Commodity

tobacco-1792070_640The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its 2016 Certified Organic Production Report today from the survey conducted earlier this year. The survey queried all known USDA-certified organic farms across Virginia.

“Production of organic crops and livestock continues to grow in Virginia,” said Herman Ellison, Virginia state statistician. “The number of certified organic farms increased 19 percent, with 26 more farms than in 2015. Virginia now ranks 22nd in the U.S. in total value of sales of certified organically produced commodities, moving up from 24th in 2015.”

In 2016, Virginia’s USDA-certified organic farms sold a total of $55.9 million in organically produced commodities, including $29.1 million in crops sales and $26.8 million in sales of livestock, poultry and their products.

“The tobacco crop continues to be the top organic commodity sold in the state,” Ellison said. “Poultry and milk value of sales in 2016 came in second and third, respectively, behind tobacco and very valuable for farmers.”

Tobacco sales totaled $18.5 million, or 33 percent of all sales. Broilers and milk followed with $17.5 million and $6.3 million in sales, respectively. Vegetables and other crops round out the top five. Average sales were $343,031 per farm.

There were 165 certified organic farms in 2016, comprising 24,848 acres of land. Seventy-nine percent, or 19,547 acres, is cropland, and 5,301 is in pasture or rangeland.

The 2016 Certified Organic Production Report provides acreage, production and sales data for a variety of certified organic crops and inventory and sales data for certified organic livestock commodities. The 2016 Certified Organic Production Survey included all known farm operators who produced certified organic crops and/or livestock.

“Thank you to all the farmers for taking time to complete the 2016 Certified Organic Survey,” Ellison said. “We appreciate their time and effort during their busy schedule.”

To learn more about this and other NASS surveys and corresponding data in Virginia, visit

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