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Organic Survey

Certified Organic Production

The Experiences and Perspectives of
Washington Farmers

Dr. Jessica Goldberger

July 2008

Organic farming is one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture. Washington State has the third highest number of certified organic operations of all states in the country. It is important to understand the characteristics, marketing strategies, information sources, needs, opinions, and challenges of the state’s organic producers. Therefore, a survey of all certified organic producers in Washington was conducted from October through December 2007. Survey participants included producers certified by both the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Organic Food Program and Oregon Tilth. The survey was implemented with the assistance of Washington State University’s Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC).

The project’s sampling population included 684 certified organic producers (670 certified by the WSDA Organic Food Program and 14 certified by Oregon Tilth). Forty nine (49) individuals were excluded from the sample because of ineligibility (e.g., producers in transition to organic but not yet certified) and bad addresses. Individuals were contacted four times by mail: an initial mailing with questionnaire, a reminder postcard, and two follow-up mailings with questionnaires. A link to an online version of the survey was provided in each mailing. Three hundred fifty six (356) individuals completed the survey for a response rate of 56.1 percent.

Photos of tomatoes, calves, and nursery plants taken during a tour of Washington organic farms.

Content Links

Initial Questions

Marketing Practices

Opinions about Organic Farming

Sources of Agricultural Information

Agricultural Goals and Farming Challenges

Farm Operation Characteristics

Farm Operator Characteristics


PDF Version of Report
(Free Adobe Acrobat Reader required, download here)

CRS Information Series No. 1-08

If you have questions, please contact Dr. Goldberger at