Economic Impact Analysis of Mixed-Species Green Manure on Organic Tomato: Evidence from the Northeastern United States
Parajuli, Krishna Joshi
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Abstract With shifting preferences of consumers towards healthier food, organic food demand has been on the rise for the past two decades. This increased demand has created an opportunity for farmers to shift from conventional to organic production. However, there are risks and uncertainties associated with organic farming. The management of an organic farm in the absence of organic-based disease and pest suppressing strategies constrains farmers from adopting organic vegetable production. The use of cover crops to control soil-borne diseases and suppress weeds and other pests has increased because of its sustainable and environmental friendly nature. This study of the economic impact of the cover crops on organic tomato production in the three states Ohio, New York, and Maryland showed mixed results. In Maryland, mixed forage radish and hairy vetch was projected to have a net present value over 15 years that was $1.53 million higher than single species hairy vetch, assuming maximum adoption level of 50 percent. In New York, mixed rye and turnip gave the higher return with a net present value of $2.61 million. In Ohio, the highest projected return was from mixed hay compared to hairy vetch with a net present value of $3.12 million when used without adding compost amendments. In Maryland and New York when bare ground was also used as a control, only mixed forage radish and hairy vetch in Maryland produced better returns compared to bare ground. A probit regression assessing the factors affecting the decision to adopt mixed species green manure technology indicated that farmer experiences in organic production, farmer age, access to the internet access, and farmersâ perceptions about the benefits of using mixed species green manures were significant factors. Each variables and factors except age had a positive influence. Similarly, probit results for microbial inoculants indicated that education, gender, and access to the internet were significant determinants, and had a negative effect on the probability of adoption. Access to the internet was significant for both mixed species green manures and microbial inoculants but with opposite sign, positive for mixed species green manures and negative for microbial inoculants.
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