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Abstract

Results from long-term experimental trials suggest that similar yields and lower costs are possible from organic compared with conventional field crop production, but there is little information about the relative costs and returns on commercial farms. This study examines the structure and profitability of field corn production using a nationwide survey of corn producers for 2010 that includes a targeted sample of organic growers. Propensity score matching was used to develop a sample of similar conventional and organic farms based on farm and operator characteristics. Treatment-effect models were estimated using the matched sample to isolate the effect of choosing the organic approach on various levels of corn production costs. The procedure accounts for the impact of both observable and unobservable variables on corn production costs.

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