Module Identifier RSM1620  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Ms Susanne Padel  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Other   3-day study tour  
  Lecture   40 Hours  
  Seminars / Tutorials   8 Hours 4 x 2 hours tutorials  
  Practical   6 Hours 3 x 2 hour practicals  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Group Project (Livestock Plan) Outcomes assessed:(f) and (g) Farm analysis and planning project including written and oral presentations.50%
Semester Assessment 4,000 word essay Outcomes assessed: (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) 50%

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:
a. 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.
b. Identify the regulations relating 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.
c. Discuss and evaluate the factors influencing consumer demand for organically-produced food.
d. Describe the marketing structures (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.
e. 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.
f. 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, both during conversion and once fully established.
g. Identify and evaluate specific constraints and opportunities for the conversion, development and optimisation of organic farm businesses in the context of farmers? 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 as part of the 2-day conference to accompany the group project. In addition there will be opportunity for group discussion 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 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
Checkland, P (1999) Soft systems methodology: a 30-year retrospective Wiley
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
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
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
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.
Lampkin N H and Padel S (eds.) (1994) The Economics of Organic Farming- an International Perspective CAB International, Wallingford
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
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
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
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
Turner, J and Taylor, M (1998) Applied farm management 2nd. Blackwell Science
Warren, M F (1998) Financial management for farmers 4th. Blackwell Science

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
Francis, C et al (1990) Participatory strategies for information exchange American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 5 (4):153-160


This module is at CQFW Level 7