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UA Professor Seeks To Understand Obstacle To Organic Farming In The South

Farmer working with row crops.
stock photo

A research project by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is hoping to understand why more farmers in the south don't produce organic crops. Professor Michael Popp from the Fayetteville campus designed a survey to collect information about types of crops and obstacles to organic farming in the region.

"There are weed control issues. There are production method issues. There's uncertainty about price premiums [farmers] can attain," Popp said. "There are worries about whether those premiums would erode if you produce too much organic food."

Understanding which of those are the biggest obstacles to farmers in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee could lead to more organic production. Winrock International, a partner in the project, plans to award grants for organic farmers based on data from the survey. Growers with farms of all sizes and products are being asked to take the survey.

"Something else we're trying to find out with the survey is whether interest is larger or stronger among smaller producers or larger producers or what the trends are," Popp said.

The online survey, designed to take approximately 10 minutes to complete, will be available through the end of December.

David Monteith worked as a reporter for KUAR News between 2015 and July 2022.