Budgetary implications of, and motives for, converting to organic farming: Case study farm business evidence from Great Britain
Tranter, R. B., Holt, G. C. and Grey, P. T. (2007) Budgetary implications of, and motives for, converting to organic farming: Case study farm business evidence from Great Britain. Biological Agriculture & Horticulture, 25 (2). pp. 133-151. ISSN 0144-8765
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This paper explores the financial implications of converting to organic farming in Great Britain through a case study of farmers considering conversion in 2002. Most study farmers were motivated to convert for financial, not ideological or life-style reasons; organic meat production was the most common planned enterprise, although those choosing to produce milk, vegetables and cereals were also studied in depth. At the time of study, organic beef and sheep meat production was particularly profitable. It was found that, in these product sectors, a large improvement in Family Farm Income would result if organic production was introduced on the case study farms. With few exceptions, a fall in Family Farm Income during the conversion period would not be an obstacle to farmers changing to organic methods. Fixed cost changes would also not deter conversion but expensive investment in new livestock and appropriate buildings would be required by some of those businesses studied. These findings are, however, dependent upon the price premia assumptions used and, whilst these premia have dropped slightly since the time of study, this would lessen the financial shortfall during the conversion period. There is also the possibility that reversion to conventional agricultural production might occur, perhaps at a faster rate than the original conversion process that was taking place around the turn of the century.