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Wisconsin is a major player in organic farming, according to statistics released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The 2008 Organic Production Survey shows Wisconsin is second in the nation in number of organic farms with 1,222, trailing only ag leader California.

Those organic farms in the Badger state encompass close to 200,000 acres of land, with the products from those farms valued at more than $132 million.

The bulk of the income for organic farmers came from selling cow's milk, the survey said.

Gov. Jim Doyle touted organic farms on Wednesday in a news release about the USDA survey.

"Farming is the heritage and the future of Wisconsin," Doyle said. "We've worked hard to strengthen and diversify agriculture across the state, and organic farming is one of the areas where Wisconsin is leading the way."

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Organic farms were quite similar in average income and expenses to all types of farms in the state, the survey said.

Organic farm operations had average sales of $115,247 in 2008 while all types of farms had average sales of $114,288 (from the 2007 census of agriculture), while organic farms had average expenses of $77,760 compared to $86,011 for all types of farms.

 

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