Module Identifier RSM1620  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Mr Nicolas Lampkin  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Practical   8 Hours 4 x 2 hour practicals  
  Visit   3-day study tour  
  Lecture   36 Hours 18 x 2 hours of lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   8 Hours 4 x 2 hours tutorials  
Assessment Group project   Group farm analysis and planning project including written and oral presentations. To be submitted by the end of semester.   50%  
  Course work   2 x 2000 word essays Essays set in week 1, and submitted in weeks 6 and 11. Each will be worth 25%   50%  


This module is divided into two parts. The first examines the business and policy context and the physical and financial performance of farming systems which rely primarily on management of the ecology of the farm to achieve agricultural production objectives, while reducing the use of agro-chemical inputs and non-renewable resources for environmental and sustainability reasons. Topics covered include: organic farming as business; role of the markets; development of organic farming in Europe; certification and regulations; consumer demand characteristics; marketing channels and trade in organic products; crop, livestock and whole-farm system performance; financial and social aspects of conversion; mainstream CAP, organic, rural development and agri-environmental policy schemes; prospects for/implications of widespread adoption.

The second part addresses the management, analysis and planning of organic farming systems. Topics covered include: systems theory/analysis; management and decision-making theory; farmer/farm-family goals and values; goal conflicts; problem identification; innovation by farmers; interactions with advisers and researchers; sources of information and knowledge specific to organic agriculture; financial appraisal; assessing qualitative objectives (environmental impact, animial welfare, social goals); farm diagnostic assessment method; farm planning techniques (budgeting, optimisation); multi-period/conversion planning. A group farm analysis and planning project allows the issues covered to be applied in practice.

Brief description

This module is designed to provide undestanding of the business of organic agriculture and related management skills, and to allow further development of student skills of evaluation, synthesis and analysis in this context. The particular focus will be the

Learning outcomes

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

1. Assess the impacts of the market for, and the regulations defining, organically produced food on the wider objectives of organic agriculture and the development of organic farming in Europe.

2. Analyse the factors influencing consumer demand for organically produced food.

3. Outline the marketing structures for organically produced food in specific regions, and evaluate these in the context of trade ethics and resource requirements for production, processing, packaging and distribution.

4. Assess the financial and physical performance of converted and converting organic production systems and analyse the contributory factors.

5. Determine the impact of relevant production, marketing, rural developmetn and agri-environmental policies and support schemes on organic agriculture.

6. Evaluate the factors influencing the adoption of organic agriculture and assess the prospects for an implications of widespread adoption of organic farming.

7. Explain the relevance of systems, management and decision-making theory to optimising the performance of farming systems in line with farmer/farm household/societal objectives.

8. Assess the role of different types of knowledge and information and of different extension agents and extension approaches in the communication of information.

9. Contrast the use and benefits of rapid appraisal, budgeting, simulation and optimisation techniques to analyse and improve farm system performance.

Transferable skills

The following skills will be developed and assessed:

Independent project work
IT and information handling
Use and analysis of numerical information
Writing in an academic context
Oral discussion and presentation
Careers needs awareness
Group activity

Reading Lists

Baillieux, P and Schrape A. (1994) Organic Farming Green Europe 2/94. European Commission, Brussels
Barnard, C and Nix J S. (1979) Farm planning and control. 2nd. CUP
Graf S, and Willer H (eds). (2000) Organic agriculture in Europe: current status and future prospects of organic farming in 25 European countries. Stiftung Oekologie und Landbau, Bad Duerckheim
Checkland, P. (1999) Soft systems methodology: a 30-year retrospective. Wiley
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
Jones, J G W and Street, P R (eds). (1990) Systems theory applied to agriculture and the food chain. Elsevier Applied Science
Lampkin N H and Measures M (eds). (2001) Organic Farm Management Handbook. University of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Lockeretz, W and Geier, B (eds). (1999) Quality and communicatioin for the organic market. Proceedings of the 6th IFOAM Organic Trade Conference.
Maxted-Frost, T. (1997) Future agenda for organic trade. Proceedings of the 5th IFOAM Organic Trade Conference. Soil Association, Bristol
Warren, M F. (1998) Financial management for farmers. 4th. Blackwell Science
Turner, J and Taylor, M. (1998) Applied farm management. 2nd. Blackwell Science
Lampkin N H and Padel S (eds.). (1994) The Economics of Organic Farming- an International Perspective. CAB International, Wallingford
Jacobsen B H et al (eds). (1994) Farmers decision making - a descriptive approach. Proceedings from the 38th EAAE Seminar. Inst. Agric. Econ and Royal Vet and Agric University, Copenhagen

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

Bawden, R J. (1991) Systems thinking and practice in agriculture. Journal of Dairy Science 74:2362-2373
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
Francis, C et al. (1990) Participatory strategies for information exchange. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 5 (4):153-160
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
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