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Comparing attitudes and characteristics of organic, former organic and conventional farmers: Evidence from Ireland

Läpple, D. (2012) Comparing attitudes and characteristics of organic, former organic and conventional farmers: Evidence from Ireland. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, - (-), pp. 1-9.

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Summary

Despite an overall growth rate of the organic farming sector in the European Union, a considerable number of farmers
cease organic production each year. Given the commitment of many European governments to increase the size of their
organic farming sectors, reducing the rate of withdrawals from organic production may be an easier option than
attracting new farmers into organic farming. In order to reduce the rate of withdrawals, knowledge about those farmers is
required. However, to date, little is known about farmers who adopt and subsequently abandon organic farming. This
study attempts to fill this gap in the literature by comparing and contrasting the farm and personal characteristics of
organic, former organic and conventional farmers. To this end, primary data from 596 Irish cattle and sheep farmers are
utilized. Overall, the findings reveal significant differences between the three groups. More specifically, organic farmers
are found to be the most environmentally aware farmers, who also rate information gathering as more important than the
remaining two groups. Organic farmers are younger, better educated and more likely to be women than conventional
farmers. Former organic farmers stand out to be the least risk averse group and also express lower environmental
awareness than organic farmers. Conventional farmers are found to be the most profit oriented and least environmentally
aware group. In addition, this group farms more intensely stocked enterprises than the remaining groups. The paper
concludes with a discussion of some policy recommendations aimed at increasing the size of the organic sector.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Farming Systems > Social aspects
Research affiliation: Ireland
Ireland > National University of Ireland, Galway
DOI:10.1017/S1742170512000294
Deposited By: Clavin, Mr Dan
ID Code:22495
Deposited On:29 Mar 2013 10:23
Last Modified:29 Mar 2013 10:23
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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