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Norwegian farmers ceasing certified organic production: Characteristics and reasons

Flaten, Ola; Lien, Gudbrand; Koesling, Matthias and Løes, Anne-Kristin (2010) Norwegian farmers ceasing certified organic production: Characteristics and reasons. Journal of Environmental Management, 91 (12), pp. 2717-2726.

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PDF - Published Version - English

Document available online at: http://doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.07.026


This article examines the characteristics of and reasons for Norwegian farmers’ ceasing or planning to cease certified organic production. We gathered cross-sectional survey data in late 2007 from organic farmers deregistering between January 2004 and September 2007 (n = 220), and similar data from a random sample of farmers with certified organic management in 2006 (n = 407). Of the respondents
deregistering by November 2007, 17% had quit farming altogether, 61% now farmed conventionally, and 21% were still farming by organic principles, but without certification. Nearly one in four organic farmers in 2007 indicated that they planned to cease certification within the next 5-10 years. From the two survey samples, we categorised farmers who expect to be deregistered in 5-10 years into three groups: conventional practices (n = 139), continuing to farm using organic principles (uncertified organic deregistrants, n = 105), and stopped farming (n = 33). Of the numerous differences among these groups, two were most striking: the superior sales of uncertified organic deregistrants through consumer-direct marketing and the lowest shares of organic land among conventional deregistrants. We summarised a large number of reasons for deregistering into five factors through factor analysis: economics, regulations, knowledge-exchange, production, and market access. Items relating to economics and regulations
were the primary reasons offered for opting out. The regression analysis showed that the various factors were associated with several explanatory variables. Regulations, for example, figured more highly among livestock farmers than crop farmers. The economic factor strongly reflected just a few years of organic management. Policy recommendations for reducing the number of dropouts are to focus on economics, environmental attitudes, and the regulatory issues surrounding certified organic production.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Organic farming; Deregister; Certification; Environmental attitude; Survey; Multivariate analysis; Opting out
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Specific methods > Surveys and statistics
Farming Systems > Farm economics
Farming Systems > Social aspects
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Values, standards and certification > Regulation
Research affiliation: Norway > Bioforsk - Norwegian Institute for Agriculture and Environmental Research > Bioforsk Organic Food and Farming Division
Norway > NILF - Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute
Deposited By: Flaten, Dr. Ola
ID Code:17781
Deposited On:21 Oct 2010 08:16
Last Modified:21 Oct 2010 08:16
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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