Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

September 26, 2007

Commissioner Announces Stateís New Organic Initiative

New Organic Specialist on Staff; New Organic Resource Center on Website

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced a new initiative within the Department that will focus on organic farming. In response to the increasing demand for organic products and the marketing opportunity for New York farmers, the Department has added a full-time organic agriculture specialist position, and has added a new section to the Departmentís website, Organic Farming Resource Center.

"There is a tremendous demand for organic products in the marketplace today, presenting a viable opportunity for some farmers," the Commissioner said. "Therefore, we have made the resources available for farmers, so that if they wish to, they can learn more about organic production methods and tap into this rapidly growing market."

Starting in March 2007, Sarah Johnston joined the Department as an Organic Agriculture Specialist. Johnston is the former Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York and has an extensive background in environmental issues. Her responsibilities at the Department are to develop and execute new initiatives to expand and support organic agriculture in New York State. Currently, Johnston has been working with producers to create a priority list of organic research needs and has successfully created the Organic Farming Resource Center, new to the Departmentís website,

The Department website now includes a dozen new pages of information on organic farming. The Organic Farming Resource Center, found at, features how to become certified organic, marketing opportunities in New York, organic production, finding organic products in the marketplace, general consumer information on organic labels and production, a list of related organic associations and activities, as well as resource lists that offer websites, studies and other useful information pertaining to organic agriculture. These pages put useful web-based information on organic farming in one easy to access location.

New York State ranks among the top ten states in the country in the number of organic farms. In 2006, there were nearly 600 certified organic farms in New York State with nearly 70,000 acres in production. Organic dairy farms are the largest segment of the organic farm community in New York State. In addition, there were more than 100 organic food processors in the State.

According to the Organic Trade Association, the sale of organic foods grew 16 percent in 2005 in the United States, accounting for $13.8 billion at the retail level.

2007 Press Releases