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      Farmers’ perceptions of farm management practices and development plans on organic farms in Finland

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          Abstract

          Organic farming is increasing in Finland, and organic farms have become larger than conventional farms, on average. As the structural change has been rapid, farmers need a broad range of new competencies to manage their farms, ranging from agronomic skills to advanced technology, labor management, and marketing skills. In this study, the characteristics of organic and conventional farms and farmers were assessed, with special focus on management practices and future development plans on organic farms. The study was based on telephone interviews of a sample of active farmers who applied for agricultural subsidies in 2014. The data consisted of 3045 farmers; 312 of them practiced organic farming and 2733 conventional farming. The data were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. Having beef production as the main production line, having plans to develop farm production in the next 5 years, considering farm management as very important, and frequently experiencing mental strain because of farm management were significant predictors for being an organic farmer. Dairy production was less frequently organic compared to crop production. Nearly half (42%) of organic farmers planned to make changes in their farming, most commonly expanding their production. Thus, competence for managing the farm operation becomes more crucial, which increases the need for training and management consulting services. Organic farming may increase with both farm successions and new entrants joining the farming sector. Special attention should be paid to supporting these new entrants without farm-family background.

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          Applied Logistic Regression

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            Financial competitiveness of organic agriculture on a global scale.

            To promote global food and ecosystem security, several innovative farming systems have been identified that better balance multiple sustainability goals. The most rapidly growing and contentious of these systems is organic agriculture. Whether organic agriculture can continue to expand will likely be determined by whether it is economically competitive with conventional agriculture. Here, we examined the financial performance of organic and conventional agriculture by conducting a meta-analysis of a global dataset spanning 55 crops grown on five continents. When organic premiums were not applied, benefit/cost ratios (-8 to -7%) and net present values (-27 to -23%) of organic agriculture were significantly lower than conventional agriculture. However, when actual premiums were applied, organic agriculture was significantly more profitable (22-35%) and had higher benefit/cost ratios (20-24%) than conventional agriculture. Although premiums were 29-32%, breakeven premiums necessary for organic profits to match conventional profits were only 5-7%, even with organic yields being 10-18% lower. Total costs were not significantly different, but labor costs were significantly higher (7-13%) with organic farming practices. Studies in our meta-analysis accounted for neither environmental costs (negative externalities) nor ecosystem services from good farming practices, which likely favor organic agriculture. With only 1% of the global agricultural land in organic production, our findings suggest that organic agriculture can continue to expand even if premiums decline. Furthermore, with their multiple sustainability benefits, organic farming systems can contribute a larger share in feeding the world.
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              Conversion to Organic Farming: A Typical Example of the Diffusion of an Innovation?

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Organic Agriculture
                Org. Agr.
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1879-4238
                1879-4246
                September 2021
                April 06 2021
                September 2021
                : 11
                : 3
                : 457-467
                Article
                10.1007/s13165-021-00352-4
                609df609-ee90-49ee-8c68-5828f894cc2e
                © 2021

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0


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