Organic farming is increasing in Finland, and organic farms have become larger than conventional farms, on average. As the structural change has been rapid, farmers need a broad range of new competencies to manage their farms, ranging from agronomic skills to advanced technology, labor management, and marketing skills. In this study, the characteristics of organic and conventional farms and farmers were assessed, with special focus on management practices and future development plans on organic farms. The study was based on telephone interviews of a sample of active farmers who applied for agricultural subsidies in 2014. The data consisted of 3045 farmers; 312 of them practiced organic farming and 2733 conventional farming. The data were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. Having beef production as the main production line, having plans to develop farm production in the next 5 years, considering farm management as very important, and frequently experiencing mental strain because of farm management were significant predictors for being an organic farmer. Dairy production was less frequently organic compared to crop production. Nearly half (42%) of organic farmers planned to make changes in their farming, most commonly expanding their production. Thus, competence for managing the farm operation becomes more crucial, which increases the need for training and management consulting services. Organic farming may increase with both farm successions and new entrants joining the farming sector. Special attention should be paid to supporting these new entrants without farm-family background.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)