A Framework to Assess State Support of Organic Agriculture

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Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, ISSN: 1044-0046, Vol: 30, Issue: 2, Page: 105-123

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Shauna M. Bloom; Leslie A. Duram
Informa UK Limited
Energy; Social Sciences; Agricultural and Biological Sciences; organic agriculture; organic farmers; policy; information
article description
Support for organic farming varies from state to state, and there have been few attempts to document what types of support currently exists. This research assesses regionally specific and relevant support available to organic farmers at the state level. This exploratory study develops a framework of ten key categories of organic agricultural support: (1) Leadership, (2) policy, (3) research, (4) technical support, (5) financial support, (6) marketing and promotion, (7) education and information, (8) consumer issues, (9) inter-agency activities, and (10) future developments. Data from state departments of agriculture, land grant universities, extension services, and other state-level agencies provide the basis for a numerical assessment of support in each category. State assessments are based on the number of activities, availability of information, and attention from personnel for each of the ten categories. A pilot study of Minnesota and Illinois was conducted to verify the utility of the framework and to explore the variation of support available within a region. This assessment framework is a valuable tool for farmers, researchers, state agencies, and citizen groups seeking to document existing types of organic agricultural support and discover topics that need more attention. © 2007 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.