Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Economics

Committee Chair(s)

Kynda R. Curtis


Kynda R. Curtis


Man-Keum Kim


Earl Creech


Consumer demand for organic products has shown double-digit growth in recent years encouraging the development of a wider range of goods (Greene, 2017). Americans with an annual household income under $30,000 actively purchase organic foods at nearly the same rate as households with over $75,000 in annual incomes, 42% versus 49% (Greene et al., 2017). Previous research observed the adoption of organic farming practices on a combination of different grains, fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy products from across the globe. However, this is the first study to examine the adoption of organic wheat in the Western U.S. By addressing the recent challenges and by discussing the current demands of the U.S. consumers, future research and decision making (including policy updates and grant opportunities) may become more impactful.

Through an online survey of western wheat growers, we look at potential patterns in farm characteristics, grower characteristics, concerns about growing organic products, factors discouraging adoption production technology, and the use of resources on the likelihood of becoming an organic grower. A total of 82 valid surveys were collected. Findings suggest operators of smaller farms are more likely to be organic growers. Wheat growers willing to take risks to increase profits and those who considered financing availability a hurdle to adoption were also more likely to use organic methods. Interestingly, operator gender and years of experience had no impact on adoption. Using resources such as university research, consultants, etc. decrease the likelihood of becoming an organic producer.