Virginia ranks ninth in the nation in local food sales

virginiaThe USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released its results for the first-ever nationwide Local Food Marketing Practices Survey. The survey was designed to collect data related to the marketing of foods directly from farms and produce official benchmark data on the local food sector in the United States.

In 2015, 3,415 Virginia farms reported direct farm sales of food, including value-added products, bringing in a combined $217,343,742. Virginia ranks 9th in the United States for direct farm sales.

When she heard the news, Sandy Adams, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said: “That’s great news that Virginia is ninth in the nation. We have known for years that local food is an important segment of Virginia agriculture; we just haven’t known how important it was statistically. This USDA survey has closed that gap and quantified the power of food and beverages made or grown in Virginia.”

Direct Farm Sales*

  • Total farms, excluding value-added products:  2,057
  • Total sales, excluding value-added products:  $89,385,629
  • Total farms, only value-added products:  2,031
  • Total sales, only value-added products:  $127,958,113

Direct to Consumer Sales**

  • Total farms, including value-added products:  2,349
  • Total sales, including value-added products:  $154,517,732

“This survey shows farmers have taken advantage of the nearby market opportunities,” said Herman Ellison, Virginia state statistician. “Population centers in the state allow a majority of sales, 71 percent, direct to consumers. The benefit of this practice is that these farmers are capturing the full share of the food dollar. This information can help develop the local foods market and increase the available food for consumers.”

In the United States 167,009 farms reported selling $8.7 billion in edible food directly to consumers, retailers, institutions and local distributors.

*Direct farm sales of food (crops and livestock raised on Virginia farms) includes farms selling to:

  • Institutions and intermediary businesses (schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, wholesalers, processors, distributors)
  • Retailers (grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, food cooperatives)
  • Direct to consumers

**Direct to consumer sales, a subset of direct farm sales, include:

  • Farmers markets, onsite farm stores, roadside stands, Community Supported Agriculture arrangements, online sales, pick-your-own operations, and mobile markets.

Sales categories include both fresh food and value-added products (edible processed foods) such as bottled milk, cheese, meat, jam, cider, and wine.

For a full breakdown of all the data, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Local_Food/index.php.

For more information, call the NASS Virginia Field Office at (800) 772-0670.

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