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Costs of Organic Milk Production on U.S. Dairy Farms


  • William D. McBride
  • Catherine Greene


The impact of organic participation on milk production costs is evaluated using data from a nationwide survey of dairy operations. Organic dairies have estimated costs about $5 to $8 per cwt higher than conventional dairies. They also receive an average milk price premium of $6.69 per cwt in 2005. Production costs are estimated to be only $3 to $4 per cwt higher among pasture-based dairies. Results suggest that small conventional dairies may consider converting to the organic approach, but startup organic dairies are not likely unless they can enter at a much larger scale than the industry norm or can utilize pasture as a primary dairy feed source. Copyright 2009 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Suggested Citation

  • William D. McBride & Catherine Greene, 2009. "Costs of Organic Milk Production on U.S. Dairy Farms," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 31(4), pages 793-813, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:revage:v:31:y:2009:i:4:p:793-813

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge & Mishra, Ashok K. & Nehring, Richard F. & Hendricks, Chad & Southern, Malaya & Gregory, Alexandra, 2007. "Off-Farm Income, Technology Adoption, And Farm Economic Performance," Economic Research Report 7234, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey Gillespie & Richard Nehring & Isaac Sitienei, 2014. "The adoption of technologies, management practices, and production systems in U.S. milk production," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-24, December.
    2. Nehring, Richard F. & Gillespie, Jeffrey M. & Hallahan, Charles B. & Sauer, Johannes, 2012. "Economic Efficiency of U.S. Organic Versus Conventional Dairy Farms: Evidence from 2005 and 2010," 2012 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2012, Birmingham, Alabama 119769, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    3. Richard J. Volpe & Timothy A. Park & Fengxia Dong & Helen H. Jensen, 2016. "Somatic cell counts in dairy marketing: quantile regression for count data," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 43(2), pages 331-358.
    4. Gillespie, Jeffrey M. & Nehring, Richard F., 2012. "The Economics of Organic Versus Conventional Cow-calf Production," 2012 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2012, Birmingham, Alabama 119773, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    5. Jeffrey Gillespie & Richard Nehring, 2013. "Comparing economic performance of organic and conventional U.S. beef farms using matching samples," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 57(2), pages 178-192, April.
    6. Qushim, Berdikul & Gillespie, Jeffrey, 2016. "Women Farm Operators in the U.S. Meat Goat Production: Who is More Productive?," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 230004, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    7. Nehring, Richard & Gillespie, Jeffrey & Hallahan, Charles & Sauer, Johannes, 2015. "The Economics and Productivity of Organic versus Non-organic U.S. Dairy Farms," 2015 Annual Meeting, January 31-February 3, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia 196805, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    8. Dong, Fengxia & Hennessy, David A. & Jensen, Helen H., 2013. "Size, Productivity and Exit Decisions in Dairy Farms," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150339, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. repec:spr:agfoec:v:2:y:2014:i:1:p:1-24 is not listed on IDEAS

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