Overcoming the barriers to organic adoption in the United States: A Look at pragmatic conventional producers in Texas

  • Constance D
  • Choi J
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Abstract

Organics is the one of the fastest growing segments in food sales. Though the amount of certified organic land is increasing, the supply of organic foods lags behind demand in the United States. The reasons for this gap include a lack of government support for organics, and the peculiarities of organics as an innovation. In an attempt to close this gap, and increase the environmental sustainability of U.S. agriculture, this paper has two objectives. The first is to document the structural and institutional constraints to organic adoption. This is accomplished through a review of organic programs and policies in the U.S., in particular the National Organic Program. The second objective is to investigate the predictors of interest and the perceived barriers to organic adoption among pragmatic conventional producers in Texas, compared to organic and conventional producers. This is accomplished through a survey of a representative sample of producers in Texas. The results indicate that more than forty percent of producers who currently have conventional operations have at least some interest in organic production (pragmatic conventional producers). There are significant differences among the three groups in their structural and attitudinal characteristics related to organic adoption. For the pragmatic conventional producers, an increase in revenue would be a major facilitator of organic adoption. Their high levels of uncertainty regarding organic production and marketing, and especially organic certification constrain organic adoption. The results also reveal that the institutional setting in the U.S. hindered adoption. The paper concludes that increased institutional support would facilitate organic adoption.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adoption
  • Barriers
  • Organic agriculture

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Authors

  • Douglas H. Constance

  • Jin Young Choi

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