The Profit Potential of Certified Organic Field Crop Production

USDA, Economic Research Service Economic Research Report Number 188 July 2015

52 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2017 Last revised: 14 Aug 2019

See all articles by William D. McBride

William D. McBride

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Catherine Greene

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Linda Foreman

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Mir Ali

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Date Written: July 30, 2015

Abstract

Organic crop acres in the United States more than doubled between 2002 and 2011 as acreage increased from 1.3 to over 3 million acres. While acreage for some major field crops increased substantially during this period, growth was more modest or had stalled for others. This study examines the profitability of corn, wheat, and soybean production using national survey data and finds that significant economic returns are possible from organic production of these crops. The main reason for higher per-bushel returns to organic production is the price premiums paid for organic crops. Despite potentially higher returns, the adoption of organic field crop production has been slow and is challenging due to such factors as achieving effective weed control and the processes involved with organic certification.

Keywords: corn, wheat, soybeans, organic and conventional production, average treatment-effect, propensity-score matching, regression with endogenous treatment-effects, Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS)

JEL Classification: Q10

Suggested Citation

McBride, William D. and Greene, Catherine and Foreman, Linda and Ali, Mir, The Profit Potential of Certified Organic Field Crop Production (July 30, 2015). USDA, Economic Research Service Economic Research Report Number 188 July 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2981672 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2981672

William D. McBride (Contact Author)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
(202) 694-5577 (Phone)

Catherine Greene

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5541 (Phone)

Linda Foreman

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States

Mir Ali

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States

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