Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Other 2-day study tour, 1-day student conference
Lecture 1 x 2 hour lecture per week
Practical 3 x 2 hour practicals
Seminars / Tutorials 1 x 2 hour tutorial per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 4,000 word essay and oral presentation    Outcomes assessed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  50%
Semester Assessment Group Project (Livestock Plan)  Farm analysis and planning project including written presentations.  Outcomes assessed: 6, 7  50%

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:

1. Outline the main objectives and principles of organic agriculture, in a systems context and describe the development of organic food production and marketing in Europe, evaluating how this development impacts on the objectives identified.

2. Identify the regulations leading to production, processing and trade in organic products within the European Union and major trading partners and evaluate the implementation of these regulations in individual countries and their impact on the development and objectives of organic agriculture.

3. Discuss and evaluate the factors influencing consumer demand for organically-produced food.

4. Describe the marketing strucutres (supply chains) for organically produced food in specific regions and evaluate these in the context of supply chain/business performance, trade ethics and resource requirements for production, processing, packaging and distribution.

5. Describe the policy-environment for organic agriculture in Europe, including the relevant production, marketing and agri-environmental support schemes , and assess their influence on the current and potential future adoption of organic agriculture.

6. Identify the factors influencing the financial and physical productivity of organic crop and livestock enterprises and assess their combined impact on the performance of whole farm systems, bothduring conversion and once fully evaluated.

7. Identify and evaluate specific constraints and opportunities for the conversion, development and optimisation of organic farm businesses in the context of farms' objectives, farming styles and information needs as well as the business environment and resources and environment.


The main aim of this module will be to enable students to understand and evaluate the business organisation and performance of organic farming systems, in the context of the market, regulatory and policy environment for organic agriculture as well as broader sustainability and ethical considerations, with a focus on the constraints and opportunities faced by farmers/managers in converting, developing and optimising their businesses.

There is a recognised need to provide suitable postgraduate modules for students interested in developing further practical expertise and specialist knowledge in organic agriculture.

Transferable skills

.1 Independent project work
Written assignment (50%) designed to encourage independent research

.2 IT and information handling
Farm planning software and databases

.3 Use and analysis of numerical information
Farm analysis and planning project

.4 Writing in an academic context
The assignments will be laid out in the style of a journal paper with suitable use of reference material cited according to library guidelines.

.5 Oral discussion and presentation
There will be an oral presentation of the essay as part of the 2-day conference. In addition there will be opportunity for group discussion during the tutorials and question/answer sessions following practical exercises and in the study tour.

.6 Careers need awareness
Students will have the opportunity to meet experts in selected topics during the module and will also be provided with current information from current business enterprises and career opportunities associated with organic agriculture during the organic study tour and throughout the course.

.7 Self-management
The assignments will involve the choice of suitable topics following discussions with the course tutor. There will be opportunity to the student to undertake independent research for information and to contact selected experts in the subject area chosen. The written and oral aspects of the assignment encourage the development of time management and communication skills.

.8 Group activity
Group activity will be a central feature of this module, reinforced by a the conference and a significant group project, with opportunities for practical problem solving exercises and group discussions during practical sessions and tutorials.

Reading List

Baillieux, P and Schrape A (1994) Organic Farming Green Europe 2/94 European Commission, Brussels Primo search Barnard, C and Nix J S (1979) Farm planning and control 2nd CUP Primo search Checkland, P (1999) Soft systems methodology: a 30-year retrospective Wiley Primo search Dabber, S, Haring A M and Zanoli R (2003) Organic farming: policies and prospects Zed Books, London Primo search Graf S, and Willer H (eds) (2003) Organic agriculture in Europe: current status and future prospects of organic farming in 25 European countries Stiftung Oekologie und Landbau, Bad Duerckheim Primo search Haccius M, Bernd A and Geier B (eds) (1995) Proceedings of the 4th International IFOAM Conference on trade in organic products International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements Primo search Jones, J G W and Street, P R (eds) (1990) Systems theory applied to agriculture and the food chain Elsevier Applied Science Primo search Lampkin N H and Measures M (eds) (2004) Organic Farm Management Handbook University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Primo search Lampkin N H and Padel S (eds.) (1994) The Economics of Organic Farming- an International Perspective CAB International, Wallingford Primo search Lampkin, N H et al (1999) The policy and regulatory environment for organic farming Europe. Organic Farming in Europe: Economics and Policy Vols 1 & 2 University of Hohenheim Primo search Lockeretz, W and Geier, B (eds) (1999) Quality and communicatioin for the organic market. Proceedings of the 6th IFOAM Organic Trade Conference Primo search Maxted-Frost, T (1997) Future agenda for organic trade. Proceedings of the 5th IFOAM Organic Trade Conference Soil Association, Bristol Primo search Michelsen, J et al (1999) The European market for organic products: growth and development. Organic Farming in Europe: Economics and Policy Vol 7 University of Hohenheim Primo search Offermann, F and Nieberg, H (1999) Economic performance of organic farms in Europe. Organic Farming in Europe: Economics and Policy, Vol 5 University of Hohenheim Primo search Turner, J and Taylor, M (1998) Applied farm management 2nd Blackwell Science Primo search Warren, M F (1998) Financial management for farmers 4th Blackwell Science Primo search Soil Association (2002, 2003) Organic food and farming report 2002, 2003 Soil Association, Bristol Primo search EC (1991) Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 of 24 June 1991 on organic production of agricultural products Official Journal of the European Communities 91 (L198): 1-15 and subsequent amendments Primo search Bawden, R J (1991) Systems thinking and practice in agriculture Journal of Dairy Science 74:2362-2373 Primo search Francis, C et al (1990) Participatory strategies for information exchange American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 5 (4):153-160 Primo search Hamm U, Gronefeld F and Halpin D (2002) Analysis of the European market for organic food. Organic marketing initiatives and rural development 1 School of Management of Business, UWA Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7