According to recent data on local food marketing practices, 167,000 U.S. farms locally produced and sold food through direct marketing practices, resulting in $8.7 billion in revenue. Pennsylvania led the U.S. in the number of farms selling directly to consumers, with more than 6,000 operations. California led in sales, earning $467 million. The survey also concluded that more than 80 percent of all direct market food sales occurred within 100 miles of the farm.
Local foods, pollination, organic products, fats and oils—these are just a few of the topics on which NASS recently began collecting and reporting data to meet data interests and requests, adding to our long-standing information on major commodities. We are innovating and building on more than 150 years of service to rural America with agriculture statistics. The value of accurate data is now more important than ever for decision-making on the farm, and by USDA farm program administrators, policy makers, researchers, market participants and, really, every aspect of agriculture.
The past year has been exciting and marked by remarkable progress in our work to serve rural America as the scope and high quality of our statistics reflect. As I look forward to the coming year, I see great opportunity to strengthen our relationships with survey respondents and with those who use our data, and to take more advantage of the remarkable technological advancements available to us. And of course, we are gearing up for the 2017 Census of Agriculture.
One of our newest advancements is the development of an improved Internet-based way to respond to surveys. NASS is developing a new, more modern online “form” to make responding more convenient and efficient. We are now conducting the first public data collection test among approximately 15,000 farmers and ranchers who we are asking to complete a draft 2017 Census of Agriculture form to test the data collection user experience. NASS intends to use the new interface for the 2017 Census of Agriculture which begins at the end of 2017.
In this season of retrospection and forward thinking, I thank all NASS employees and enumerators for their many contributions, producing some 400 reports and related materials on-time with accurate and useful data in service to U.S. agriculture. I thank our agricultural partners and all of the farmers, ranchers and growers who take time to respond to statistical surveys. You are the source of our food, feed and fiber as well as the data that we rely on here and around the world.