Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Farmer perspectives on the transition to organic agriculture: An Oregon study of farmer motivations and barriers Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xw42nb53s

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  • In the midst of double-digit growth in market demand for organic products, there is a lag in the growth of certified organic production in the United States. This thesis investigated the motivations and barriers farmers face when making the transition to organic agriculture. Three distinct organic farmer typologies were identified: Beginning Organic Farmer, Experienced Farmer Beginning Organic and Experienced Organic Farmer. Using survey research and case studies, this thesis combined quantitative and qualitative research methods to explore farmer perspectives from each typology. Experienced Farmers Beginning Organic were more motivated to transition by tangible, economic factors than Beginning and Experienced Organic Farmers who were motivated by more conceptual, ideological reasons. Obstacles to organic transition were categorized into four groups: economic, production, market and social obstacles. Farmers from each typology agreed that economic factors and some production issues were obstacles to the transition to organic agriculture. The majority of obstacles were considered externally influenced by factors off the farm including policy, market dynamics and foreign affairs. Variances in perception of obstacles between farmer typologies were highlighted. Findings improve understanding of farmer motivations and challenges to organic transition. Recommendations include differentiation of research, education and policy based on farmer typology.
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