Tuesday, March 3, 2009

07 Census - A Starting Point

At the Missouri Dept. of Agriculture we field a lot of media questions regarding the economic impact of direct marketing, specifically agritourism. Although, the MDA doesn’t at this time have specific data to answer this question, the AgriMissouri Program conducted an agritourism survey this fall to begin the research.

In a recent article I read from SimplyFarming.com the 2007 Ag Census does provide a starting point in collecting data that can be used to determine the economic impact of direct marketing.

According to
Jane Eckert, Eckert AgriMarketing, the 2007 Ag Census results have just been released and we finally have some “real” numbers to share with our local economic development officers, tourism officials and everyone else interested to know how many farms are involved in agritourism.

The total number of farms in the 2007 US Ag Census went up 4% since 2002 and we now have 2,204,799 people engaged in farming. The one new question added to the census this year asked- How many sell farm products directly to individuals for human consumption through roadside stand, farmers markets, pick your own, door to door etc.? The number of farms counted was 136,817 - representing $1.2 Billion in Sales.

Go online to www.agcensus.usda.gov to read the complete results. (over 700 pages worth)

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