How Farmers' Commitment to an "Organic Ethos" Shapes Their Opinions of Organic Policy Impacts

    Updated: Aug 7, 2019

    Policy scholars have long recognized that peoples' values and beliefs shape how they experience and evaluate public policies. In an article published in the Review of Policy Research, Samantha Mosier, Ian Adams, and I examined how organic producers' alignment with an "organic ethos" shape their perceptions of U.S. organic policy impacts. We find that producers with a stronger organic ethos alignment - which we define as a commitment to organic principles and the organic movement - are more likely to view the National Organic Program as decreasing the environmental impacts of agriculture and supporting biodiversity, increasing consumer understanding of and confidence in "organic" food, and supporting a more profitable organic market. They are also more likely to report that the Program facilitates the cooptation of the organic market by Big Ag. Collectively, the findings help explain why farmers are often divided, both personally and between one another, on the benefits and liabilities of U.S. organic food policy.