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Austria: Conversion to organic farming without regrets

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Grass-fed cow
Many organic farmers from Austria view organic farming as an attitude life. © Fotolia/Lightfield Studios

According to a survey by Keyquest among 500 respondents, 98% of Austrian organic farmers would decide to switch back to organic farming again. Many interviewees justified their response with their conviction that organic farming as an attitude to life. The market research company asked their respondents if they would reconsider switching to organic farming when they would be able to choose again.

The survey conducted among 500 operators of organically managed farms throughout Austria in spring 2018, brought a clear result: Today, 98% of the respondents would switch to organic again, whereby 89% would switch “for sure” and another 9% “very likely”. Only 2% would “rather not” switch to organic again.

Organic by conviction

This high level of approval among organic farmers is first and foremost due to a high level of identification with organic farming: 45% of respondents are convinced that organic farming is a way of life. The environment, i.e. climate and nature conservation, species-appropriate animal husbandry and soil protection, are also major issues: 31% of organic farmers name it as a reason for their decision in favour of organic farming. Business reasons follow in third place. Every fourth organic farmer (26%) is convinced that organic farming is also economically more profitable or more interesting.

Organic farmers also attach great importance to their own health and quality of life as well as that of their children and grandchildren: By applying organic farming methods, 23% want to show consideration for themselves as well as for future generations. Significantly, for many similarly situated farmers, organic seems to be the only possible way into the future (16%).

Direct marketing plays an important role

The high proportion of direct marketers among organic farmers is also striking: 47% partly rely on direct marketing of their products, with direct marketing even having “great significance” for one fifth (21%).


“Compared to conventional farms, the share of direct marketers among organic farms is almost twice as high. And of course, organic farmers profit from the continuously increasing demand for organic products.”

– Johannes Mayr, CEO at Keyquest

Bureaucracy as main reason for turning away from organic farming

Taking a closer look at the sceptics of organic farming (2%), it tends to be smaller farms that have to struggle with the constraints as well as bureaucracy associated with organic farming and, from today's point of view, question the switch to organic farming.

All in all, however, the positive aspects clearly predominate among organic farmers and are reflected in the majority of them in their genuine conviction. “Once organic, always organic” one could summarize the study’s results.






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