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Abstract

The notion of industrialized agriculture has been a dominant theme in the applied economics literature. More recently, the debate has entered the realm of organic agriculture, with some suggesting that the organic sector has strayed from its agrarian roots. The terms “industrial” and “agrarian” are widely used, yet few have given precise definitions of what the terms mean. This paper puts forth testable hypotheses for agrarian and industrial agriculture. Then, using census data from the 2008 Organic Production Survey, we examine the evidence to assess whether the organic farm sector fits an agrarian or industrial model. Overall the evidence is mixed, yet suggests that the organic sector is less agrarian than expected.

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