Jousting with the Dollar: Organic vs. Conventional Farms

“Can organic cropping systems be as profitable as conventional systems?”

So asked a study recently published in the Agronomy Journal. Researchers followed a range of crop systems in southern Wisconsin for 13 years and concluded that “diversified* systems were more profitable than monocropping**,” said lead researcher Joshua Posner of the University of Wisconsin.

Even when risk premiums were included, diversified farms were more profitable.

The press release closes with the following:

“This study indicates that governmental policy that supports mono-culture systems is outdated and support should be shifted to programs that promote crop rotations and organic farming practices.”

The best part: the research wasn’t funded by Seed Savers or Slow Food but by the US Department of Agriculture.

You can download a copy of the paper for free here until May 6th.

*Diversified: think, smaller plots of land, each with a different crop, and each with a new crop each season; common on most organic farms as it cuts down on the need for artificial fertilizers, etc.

**Monocropping: think, endless rows of, say, corn, season after season; The fuel of big Agri-business.

Photo of a Wisconsin barn by anonymous Dreamstime contributor

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