Evaluating yields and profitability of small-scale organic and biointensive vegetable production in Washington
CSANR Project 094
This proposal addresses the priority area of assessing economic sustainability of agriculture and food systems. As a tool for self evaluation, a yield data bank will be provided to small-scale organic/biointensive vegetable farms and to organic research sites. We will develop manual and electronic worksheets to assist small-scale organic/biointensive farmers in evaluating their per crop and/or whole-farm costs and profitability. These worksheets will be tested by the PI among a sample of small-scale organic vegetable growers. The PI will glean knowledge on innovative cost management from these interviews . The worksheets will also be taught in a new economics section developed by the PI for WSU’s Soils 480 course, Practicum in Organic Agriculture. A student working under the supervision of the PI and cooperator Jaeckel will systematize yield and cost record keeping at the WSU organic farm. The PI’s economic evaluations permitted by these records will broaden research results at the learning site. The yields data bank and economic worksheets will be disseminated to organic growers, extension agents, and others in a Cultivating Success distance education lecture. These materials will also be disseminated in the Soils 480 classroom and in an electronic extension bulletin. The effectiveness of the data bank and worksheets will be evaluated by measuring the number of “hits” for these items in the electronic extension bulletin, by assessing student evaluations of the materials in Soils 480, and evaluations of the Cultivating Success lecture. Evaluation results and innovative cost management results will be summarized in a journal submission.