Plotting Progress

Here are some cool maps the NYT created using data from the 2007 Census of Agriculture.

NYT Maps

And here’s a map I made to show the distribution of Oklahoma Food Co-op producers.

Food Co-op Producers

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5 thoughts on “Plotting Progress

  1. Interesting. I’m guessing they went by “official” organic certification numbers.

    We have an surprising swath of orchards. Pecans? Peaches? That is similar to the swath the cross timbers cut across Oklahoma.

    • Organic status is self-reported and there were no steps taken by the USDA to verify status for the Census of Agriculture.

      Respondents were instructed to report organic production as defined by the National Organic Standards while in 2002 only acreage of certified organically produced crops was collected.

      So, I guess it depends on if the farmer thinks her growing methods meet the standards set forth by the National Organic Standards Board, even if she hasn’t been certified. Or is certification an inherent part of meeting the standards? Hmmm.

      I’m confused by the total number of organic farms used in the NYT maps. The Census of Agriculture shows more than 20,000 U.S. farms engaged in organic production. And I’m confused further since I can’t tell if the whole operation is organic, or just part. I’ve emailed the author inquiring about that.

      The USDA is currently conducting its first-ever Organic Production Survey, which will be a more in-depth look at organic farming, types of crops, livestock, practices, marketing, and processing. And you don’t have to be certified to participate.

      Through the Organic Production Survey, NASS [National Agricultural Statistics Service] will gather additional information on how the growth of organic farming is changing the face of U.S. agriculture.

      • Okie doke. Hannah Fairfield (the author) updated the map key to show that the farms she plotted are indeed certified organic farms and that is why the numbers vary from the Ag Census.

  2. That’s an interesting comment from Chelsey about the possible connection between orchards and the Cross Timbers. I wonder…

    this also explains why it seems difficult to get fresh, locally grown produce around here.

    By the way, Hannah’s is starting to beef up their use of locally grown foods and bringing attention to it in their menus. Woohoo!

  3. I think the lack of locally grown produce is more of a cultural thing. Our metro areas like big chain grocers and big chain restaurants, my fellow farmers like big acreages, lots of inputs, and abhor direct marketing.

    It’s one of those things that constantly perplexes me. (ironically while sitting on a tractor) I think it’s either our relative newness as a state, or the cultural aspects of our population that steer things a certain way. A city like Chicago creates enough demand to alter the surrounding agricultural landscape, while OKC just doesn’t have the numbers.

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