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Self identified research needs of New York organic farmers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2009

Brian P. Baker
Ciriacy-Wantrup Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720.
Douglas B. Smith
Graduate Student of Rural Sociology, Department of Rural Sociology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853.
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A survey of organic farmers in New York State identified problems in need of university research. Weed management was the most frequently mentioned problem by far, identified as significant by two-thirds of the organic farmers. Only a few other problems were listed as significant, including insufficient time for farm work, lack of markets, low prices, and lack of appropriate tools. These were cited by more than a third of the farmers. Drought, insect management, and a lack of a dependable supply of labor were cited by about one-third of the respondents. The survey also examined organic farmers' information sources. They do not use conventional sources of agricultural information, such as the extension service and conventional agricultural media, as much as books, magazines, and newsletters on organic f arming, other organic f armers, and on-farm experiments. Many respondents noted that local extension agents did not know very much about non-chemical solutions to organic production problems. They considered University Extension to be accessible, but not very useful in solving problems specific to organic farming, and had many suggestions to improve Land Grant research in organic agriculture.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1987

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