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Smaller Organic Farmers Are Forgoing Decertification, Study Finds

May 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A published Purdue University study reflecting data from more than 1,500 farmer surveys found that of the 234 farms that were or had been organic at some point, 36 percent had dropped certification, and a large majority of these were smaller farms. Obtaining USDA organic certification can be an expensive, year-long process that smaller farmers find prohibitive. Large- and medium-sized farms were less likely to decertify. They apparently were able to produce enough volume of fruits and vegetables to access high-value, high-volume markets. Fewer of the smaller organic farms were located near markets that would purchase large quantities of organic produce. Farmers who decide to opt out are likely selling their organic produce directly to consumers through farmer's markets or community-supported agriculture programs. Seventy-two percent continued to use organic practices even after decertification. [Image Credit: © USDA]

"Farmers Drop Organic Labels Over Certification Process, Access to Markets, Study Says", Purdue University, May 31, 2018, © Purdue University
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