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farmland productions, management practices, crop & livestock performance, agricultural economics


In this report, results are presented of a case study on alternative strategies for producing crops and beef cattle in South Dakota. The alternative production strategies are termed "nearorganic" and "mainstream." "Near-organic" producers were defined as farmers/ranchers1 expected to substantially meet standards of private "organic" certification authorities in raising crops and livestock, whereas "mainstream" producers were defined as those who generally follow practices recommended by the S.D. Cooperative Extension Service. Four matching pairs of near-organic and mainstream case study farmers from the following locations were selected for study: Morristown in the Northwest Region, Norris in the South Central Region, Roscoe-Eureka in the North Central Region, and Huron in the Central Region. Detailed data for 1993 on each case farm's resources, crop and livestock production management practices, and crop and livestock performance were collected through questionnaires that were initially mailed and then followed up with personal interviews. Based on information provided by each case farmer, (1) crop and management practices were described and (2) budgets for individual crops, crop rotations, and livestock enterprises were developed. Data on various crop rotations and livestock enterprises were then integrated with each other through whole-farm analysis. Although the primary focal point of analysis in the study involves a comparison of near-organic with mainstream production, a secondary focal point--particularly in the beef cattle component of the study--involves comparisons between case farmers west and east of the Missouri River.


Economics Research Report No. 95-5