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Identifying Spatial Clusters within U.S. Organic Agriculture


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  • Cheryl Brown

    (Division of Resource Management, West Virginia University)

  • Daniel Eades

    (Community, Economic & Workforce Development, West Virginia University)

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    The market for organically produced products has experienced rapid growth in recent decades; however, this growth has not been distributed evenly across the country instead concentrating in certain regions. Employing measures of spatial concentration and association we identify those counties in which organic production is clustered or represents a proportion of the agricultural economy greater than what would be expected by national trends. Results show that spatial clustering of organic agriculture does exist based on data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture on organic farms, acreage, and value of sales. Counties with the largest location quotients for organic production were most often located in the western U.S., especially California, Washington, and Oregon, the Great Plains states, New England, and in some cases, select counties within Mid-Atlantic States. Organic production clusters as measured by the local Moran’s I statistic followed a similar pattern, clustering primarily in the western U.S. with additional High/high clusters found in the Great Plains, upper Midwest, and areas of New England. When these values were adjusted to represent organic agriculture’s share of a county’s total agriculture, central cluster counties were most likely to be found in New England. Results describing the correlation between organic support establishments and production within identified clusters suggest that organic operations in California and New England may be following different marketing strategies that promote or reduce the likelihood of identifying input-output relationships within these clusters.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University in its series Working Papers with number 200610.

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    Length: 51 pages
    Date of creation: 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:rri:wpaper:200610

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    Related research

    Keywords: organic agriculture; spatial clusters; spatial concentration;

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    1. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," NBER Working Papers 4840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Dimitri, Carolyn & Greene, Catherine R., 2002. "Recent Growth Patterns In The U.S. Organic Foods Market," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33715, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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