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Organic Agriculture

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 103–116 | Cite as

Farmers’ reasons for deregistering from organic farming

  • Matthias KoeslingEmail author
  • Anne-Kristin Løes
  • Ola Flaten
  • Niels Heine Kristensen
  • Mette Weinreich Hansen
Article

Abstract

Every year since 2002, 150 to 200 farmers in Norway have deregistered from certified organic production. The aim of this study was to get behind these figures and improve our understanding of the reasoning leading to decisions to opt out. Four cases of deregistered organic farmers with grain, sheep, dairy or vegetable production were selected for in-depth studies. The cases were analysed from the perspective of individual competencies and the competencies available in the networks of the selected organic farmers. Besides the conspicuous reasons to opt out of certified organic farming, such as regulations getting stricter over time and low income, personal reasons such as disappointment and need for acceptance were also important. This shows that hard mechanisms, such as economic support and premium prices, are not sufficient to motivate farmers for sustained organic management. Support and encouragement, for example from people in the local community, politicians and other spokespersons, would likely contribute to increase farmers’ motivation.

Keywords

Organic agriculture Motivation Competence Interview Deregistering Case study 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank J. Brian Hardaker and the reviewers for their many relevant comments that greatly improved the quality of this article. Also, we want to thank Gudbrand Lien for his cooperation and discussing the results. The financial support from the Research Council of Norway and the Agricultural Agreement Research Fund is gratefully acknowledged. Last but not least, thanks to the participating Norwegian farmers for their openness, hospitability and interest to co-operate in this study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media BV 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Koesling
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Anne-Kristin Løes
    • 1
  • Ola Flaten
    • 3
  • Niels Heine Kristensen
    • 4
  • Mette Weinreich Hansen
    • 4
  1. 1.Organic Food and Farming DivisionBioforsk-Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental ResearchTingvollNorway
  2. 2.Institute of Organic FarmingFederal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries vTIWesterauGermany
  3. 3.Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research InstituteOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of Development and PlanningAalborg University CopenhagenBallerupDenmark

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