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Organic agriculture and the conventionalization hypothesis: A case study from West Germany

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  • Henning Best

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    Abstract

    The recent growth in organic farming has given rise to the so-called “conventionalization hypothesis,” the idea that organic farming is becoming a slightly modified model of conventional agriculture. Using survey data collected from 973 organic farmers in three German regions during the spring of 2004, some implications of the conventionalization hypothesis are tested. Early and late adopters of organic farming are compared concerning farm structure, environmental concern, attitudes to organic farming, and membership in organic-movement organizations. The results indicate that organic farming in the study regions indeed exhibits signs of incipient conventionalization. On average, newer farms are more specialized and slightly larger than established ones and there is a growing proportion of farmers who do not share pro-environmental attitudes. Additionally, a number, albeit small, of very large, highly specialized farms have adopted organic agriculture in the last years. However, the vast majority of organic farmers, new and old ones included, still show a strong pro-environmental orientation. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10460-007-9073-1
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Agriculture and Human Values.

    Volume (Year): 25 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 95-106

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:25:y:2008:i:1:p:95-106

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    Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/10460

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    Keywords: Attitudes; Conventionalization; Environmental concern; Organic agriculture; Organic farming; Organic movement; Values;

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    1. Karen Klonsky & Laura Tourte, 1998. "Organic Agricultural Production in the United States: Debates and Directions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1119-1124.
    2. Vonne Lund & Sven Hemlin & William Lockeretz, 2002. "Organic livestock production as viewed by Swedish farmers and organic initiators," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 255-268, September.
    3. Joyce Willock & Ian J. Deary & Gareth Edwards-Jones & Gavin J. Gibson & Murray J. McGregor & Alistair Sutherland & J. Barry Dent & Oliver Morgan & Robert Grieve, 1999. "The Role of Attitudes and Objectives in Farmer Decision Making: Business and Environmentally-Oriented Behaviour in Scotland," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 286-303.
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    Cited by:
    1. Lukas Zagata, 2010. "How organic farmers view their own practice: results from the Czech Republic," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 277-290, September.
    2. Lee-Ann Sutherland, 2013. "Can organic farmers be ‘good farmers’? Adding the ‘taste of necessity’ to the conventionalization debate," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 429-441, September.
    3. Läpple, Doris & Rensburg, Tom Van, 2011. "Adoption of organic farming: Are there differences between early and late adoption?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(7), pages 1406-1414, May.

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