KENNEWICK, Wash. -- A Washington State University study found that the total number of acres in organic farming in the state has declined, but the value of organic crops is rising.

The study from the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources found the organic acres dropped from about 105,000 in 2009 to about 88,000 in 2012. The organic crops' value grew by 20 percent to $285 million.

The Tri-City Herald reports Grant County leads the state in organic productions with about 22,000 acres and a 2011 value of $88 million. That's up 37 percent from the year before.

Gary Middleton grows organic apples, cherries and blueberries on about 100 acres near Eltopia. He says organic agriculture is more labor intensive and prices have to be higher to cover the costs.

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