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Overcoming the Barriers to Organic Adoption in the United States: A Look at Pragmatic Conventional Producers in Texas

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  • Douglas H. Constance

    () (Department of Sociology, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas 77341-2446, USA)

  • Jin Young Choi

    () (Department of Sociology, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas 77341-2446, USA)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas H. Constance & Jin Young Choi, 2010. "Overcoming the Barriers to Organic Adoption in the United States: A Look at Pragmatic Conventional Producers in Texas," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:163-188:d:6749
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tim O'Riordan & Dick Cobb, 2001. "Assessing the Consequences of Converting to Organic Agriculture," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 22-35.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:11:p:2024-:d:117595 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:5:p:821-:d:98661 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Delbridge, Timothy A. & King, Robert P., 2016. "How Important is the T-Yield? An Analysis of Reforms to Organic Crop Insurance," Staff Papers 244732, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
    4. Giovanna Sacchi & Vincenzina Caputo & Rodolfo M. Nayga, 2015. "Alternative Labeling Programs and Purchasing Behavior toward Organic Foods: The Case of the Participatory Guarantee Systems in Brazil," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(6), pages 1-20, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    organic agriculture; adoption; barriers;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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