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Producers Continuing Versus Exiting From Organic Production in California, USA: Regulatory, Technical, and Economic Challenges

Brodt, Sonja; Klonsky, Karen; Strochlic, Ron and Sierra, Luis (2014) Producers Continuing Versus Exiting From Organic Production in California, USA: Regulatory, Technical, and Economic Challenges. In: Rahmann, G. and Aksoy, U. (Eds.) Building Organic Bridges, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Braunschweig, Germany, 4, Thuenen Report, no. 20, pp. 1179-1182.

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Organic farms face numerous challenges unique to organic production that can lead to cessation of the farm business or conversion to conventional production. In California, one of the leading U.S. states for organic production, all producers of commodities marketed as organic are required to register with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Organic Program. The purpose of this survey study was to compare farmers who had recently discontinued their registration with the program with farmers still registered, to determine whether deregistered farmers leave farming altogether or convert to conventional production, and to shed light on the main challenges faced by organic farmers. Results indicate 26% of those identified as deregistered were mistakenly identified as such (due to late submissions, name changes, or other reasons), and 35% had stopped farming altogether. Significantly fewer actually deregistered farmers owned their own land than still registered producers, and a significantly higher percentage had farm revenues lower than US$100,000. Deregistered producers considered regulatory issues as the most problematic, especially paperwork requirements, while registered producers ranked production issues as most problematic. Accordingly, registered farmers were more likely to request technical production assistance in the form of organic-focused research and extension, while deregistered farmers responded that financial assistance with certification and registration costs and more streamlining and clarification of the certification process and organic rules would have helped them more as organic farmers. These results point to a continuing need for certification cost share programs, especially for small farms, and streamlining of regulatory procedures. Additional strategies to retain more organic farmers include trained organic advisors who can facilitate between farmers and certifying and regulatory agencies, more organic-focused research, and producer cooperatives for small organic farms to pool information and labor resources and marketing efforts.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:organic reversion, organic regulations, farming challenges
Agrovoc keywords:
small farms
Subjects: Farming Systems > Farm economics
Knowledge management > Education, extension and communication
Values, standards and certification > Regulation
Research affiliation: International Conferences > 2014: 18th IFOAM OWC Scientific Track: 4th ISOFAR Scientific Conference
USA > Other organizations
Deposited By: Brodt, Dr. Sonja
ID Code:23969
Deposited On:30 Oct 2014 16:18
Last Modified:26 Oct 2022 11:46
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:urn:nbn:de:gbv:253-201407-dn053621-1

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