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Farm Business Management Update, June/July 2005

By Karen Mundy, (, Rural Economic Analysis Program, Communications Specialist, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Describing Organic Agricultural Production in Virginia: Results of the 2004 Farm Survey Authors: Susan B. Sterrett, Gordon E. Groover, Daniel B. Taylor, Karen Mundy. Despite the importance of organic production, Virginia producers lack information. A common criticism by organic growers is that, unlike commercial growers, applicable production, economic, and marketing information is difficult to obtain, or the information targeting conventional production is not easily transferable to organically grown products. Production budgets are necessary building blocks for many business management tools to facilitate sound production and marketing decisions. However, the great diversity of potential organic practices and the resulting integration efficiencies of combining these practices are difficult to fit into conventional budgets. Working on the premise that budgets for organically grown crops need to reflect the synergisms of practices associated with organic production, we quickly concluded that we lacked an understanding of organic production and the needs of Virginia organic producers. The result of our discussions led to a survey of Virginia farmers who are certified organic, those who are using organic practices but are not certified, and those who are transitioning to or expanding their organic production.

Our goal in surveying organic producers was to gain a better understanding of organic production in Virginia. Our objectives were to identify

Organic production offers a cornucopia of opportunities for Virginia's farmers to diversify and to expand their businesses to meet the increasing demand for organic products. Yet understanding how to navigate this vast array of opportunities to insure a successful business that addresses the needs of consumers is not clear. A number of farmers have successfully adapted to this new market, taking risks and reaping rewards for their entrepreneurship. As the industry matures, consumers will seek more variety and higher quality, and farmers will have to increase their understanding of markets, costs, and efficiencies. Educational institutions and service providers will need to understand that their clients are not the same as traditional farmers and adapt their educational programs to meet the needs of their clients or they will seek information from other sources.

Southeast Regional Agritourism Forum

The Georgia Department of Economic Development and the University of Georgia have come together to host a three day informational forum for individuals involved in State-level Agritourism. The forum will give State-level Agritourism Programmers in the Southeast the opportunity to exchange ideas, information, obstacles, and solutions relating to the growing Agritourism industry. This forum is a great opportunity for individuals involved in agritourism planning at the state level such as the Departments of Tourism, Departments of Agriculture, and County Extension Services.

Dates: June 29-July 1, 2005
Location: University Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center
Costs: $150 per person
Web Site:
Phone: (478) 275-6888

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