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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 536: XIVth International Symposium on Horticultural Economics

HIGH QUALITY, COST EFFECTIVE PRODUCTION OF DIVERSE HORTICULTURAL CROPS GROWN ORGANICALLY: AN INDIVIDUAL CASE STUDY IN NORTHWEST MISSOURI, U.S.A.

Authors:   A. Larson, A. Ching, F. Messner, H. Messner
Keywords:   Organic produce, Multiple enterprise, Cropping systems, Marketing
Abstract:
The use of inorganic methods for crop production creates concern among consumers about the availability of healthy products, water quality and the sustainability of agricultural production. This concern provides a window of opportunity to grow and market organic products. Recognition of this opportunity prompted the subject of this case study to develop an innovative approach to production and marketing of organic horticultural crops. The producer utilizes a multidimensional production system to produce high quality products in a cost effective manner. A year round comprehensive marketing strategy along with multiple enterprises allows the producer to develop and maintain consistent cash flows.

The producer's resources include 16.8 hectares of cropland and three greenhouses totaling about 463 square meters. These resources are used in an integrated cropping system that includes field crops such as corn, rye, oats, and soybeans, fresh, dried and edible flowers, and fresh produce. Approximately one-third of the available land area is used annually in each of three production activities-vegetable production, legumes for green manure and cereal grains as a cash crop and for mulching straw.

Marketing emphasizes three major areas including farmers' markets in Kansas City and St. Joseph, selected restaurants in Kansas City and weekly customer share association (CSA) or subscription pickup at the farm.

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