Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 429677
Title Comparison of Management Styles in Organic and Conventional Farming with Respect to Disruptive External Influences. The Case of Organic Dairy Farming and Conventional Horticulture in the Netherlands
Author(s) Blom, M.; Gremmen, H.G.J.
Source Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 36 (2012)8. - ISSN 1044-0046 - p. 893 - 907.
Department(s) PPO/PRI AGRO Water- en Biobased Economy
Applied Philosophy Group
Methodical Ethics and Technology Assessment
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) agriculture - sustainability
Abstract Conventional Dutch farming systems are constantly improving their technology to withstand disruptive external influences, while organic farming tends to focus on methods that stress conservation of natural and nonrenewable resources. We hypothesize that management styles to withstand disruptive external influences clearly differ in both systems. Conventional farming aims to protect crops and livestock with hands-on solutions, whereas organic farming aims at reducing the consequences of disruptions. To study these two extremes, we compared a conventional horticultural system with an organic dairy system and interviewed the entrepreneurs about their decision-making strategies, dilemmas, and tradeoffs when dealing with undesirable events. To our surprise, all entrepreneurs used a similar set of interventions aimed at maximizing income and minimizing costs. We also discovered that all entrepreneurs tended to aim at both homogeneity and heterogeneity dependent on the level: all aimed for a uniform output of their whole system, while utilizing the genetically defined diversity between individual plants or animals. Based on previous experiences, farmers rely on natural compensation for losses within their system: heterogeneity within their system provides flexibility to accept uncertainty within a certain range. Therefore, we conclude that the societal discrimination between management styles does not represent well-defined differences between conventional and organic farming.
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