Can U.S. Organic Production Keep Up with Growing Demand?

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Choices Magazine article looks into four major barriers to organic transition

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...you can understand why many farmers hesitate to make the change

U.S. demand for organic food products has increased by more than 400% since 2000, but domestic supply of organic grains and feed crops is not keeping pace. Farms transitioning to organic production need to develop and follow a detailed plan for how to comply with organic requirements, and while maintaining records that document compliance with the requirements. Farms receive conventional crop prices during the three year transition and, with uncertain agricultural markets, attractive profit opportunities for organic production can disappear before a farm is certified.

A new Choices Magazine article “Risk and Red Tape: Barriers to Organic Transition for U.S. Farmers” digs deeper into the management, cultural, political, and market barriers that have been discouraging the adoption of organic agriculture in the United States.

Timothy Delbridge from California Polytechnic State University, Robert King from the University of Minnesota, and Gianna Short from the University of Minnesota, co-authors of the Choices Magazine article and AAEA members say that “organic production is often more profitable for farmers, but the challenges of learning, implementing, and certifying new production methods can be daunting.” Delbridge went on to say, “Add to this the discomfort of doing things differently from your neighbors and the fear that profits will shrink if too many farms adopt organic practices, and you can understand why many farmers hesitate to make the change.”

More information on this article and many other articles can be located online at http://www.choicesmagazine.org. If you are interested in setting up an interview with Timothy Delbridge or the other authors, please contact Allison Scheetz in the AAEA Business Office.

About Choices: Choices, the magazine of food, farms and resource use, is the principal outreach vehicle of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association, AAEA. Choices provides peer-reviewed articles exploring the economic implications of current food, farm, resource or rural community issues directed toward a broad audience.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit http://www.aaea.org.

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Allison Scheetz
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Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA)
since: 02/2009
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