Census of Agriculture & The Farm Plan Report System

Census of Agriculture & The Farm Plan Report System

Census of Agriculture & The Farm Plan Report System

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

USDA's National Agricultural Statistic Service's recently released 2012 Census of Agriculture preliminary report provides an early look at national as well as Washington state data. Included in those findings - the national trend for the number of farms counted continues to decrease with Washington farms decreasing from a little over 39 thousand in 2007 to slightly more than 37 thousand in 2012. And though the number of women listed as principal farm operators has decreased, women still operate 20.2 percent of all Washington farms - much higher than the national average. The final report will be released in May. For more information visit agcensus.usda.gov.

The Farm Plan is a very simple report system created by Wenatchee cherry grower Juli Ogden that makes food safety doable for farmers. Dealing with programs such as Global Gap, which requires that farmers prove they grow safe food, can seem daunting for producers. Ogden herself admits to being confused by such plans.

OGDEN: In 2012 my warehouse said you have to get your cherries certified safe through Global Gap or we're not selling your produce. I had been hearing rumors from other farmers about how impossible Global Gap was - very difficult and the rules were horrible. So I went to a class that my warehouse put on and I was given a 328-page book to follow all the rules and the forms and do whatever it said. Way too much when you have a busy life.

This prompted Ogden to create The Farm Plan which she initially shared with just a few close friends.

OGDEN: Now I'm teaching it to groups of growers all over the place. We do most of the most of the paperwork that the grower has to do in a one day workshop. The farmer goes back to their farm with a list of exactly what has to be improved on the farm, and we've talked about how to do those things inexpensively and with practicality and common sense.

For more information visit thefarmplan.com.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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