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Organic farm income growing like, well, weeds

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The approximate 700 Minnesota farmers who operate certified organic farms had a barn burner year

MPR cited the soaring figures collected by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Management, which reviewed the 2012 finances of a sample of some three dozen Minnesota organic farms. The analysis showed they earned a median net income of just over $85,000, more than doubling the $38,000 earned the year before.

The report showed organic farmers are paid more for their crops. For example, an organic farmer sold corn for nearly $13 a bushel last year, almost double what conventional farmers earned. Organic milk brought nearly $30 per hundred pounds while conventional dairy farms received just over $19.

Despite that, organic farmers showed far smaller earnings than farmers who operate conventional operations that use chemicals and fertilizers. The CFFM study of more than 2,000 conventional farmers showed an average profit last year of nearly $200,000 per farm. Conventional farms studied were on average more than twice as big as organic ones so their harvests are significantly larger.

The study concluded that the higher selling prices for organic products was not enough to offset the acreage and yield disadvantage organic farmers face compared to conventional farmers.

This years crops for all farmers are weather-stressed as the busy harvest season arrives.

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