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Abstract

Organic production, while still a niche market in U.S. agriculture, is growing at a rapid rate. This paper argues that organic producers, particularly those seeking certification to sell at the retail level, share many characteristics with conventional producers who opt for contracting over independence. These include yield risk, search and transaction costs, and technological changes. Depending on the rate at which federal assistance programs grow and evolve to serve organic producers, contracting may become a popular choice within the organic sector. In turn, contracting may come to cover a significantly larger share of agricultural production as the organic sector continues to grow.

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