Organic hotspots benefit local economies

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New research published in the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems has found that organic hot spots – counties with high levels of organic agricultural activity whose neighboring counties also have high organic activity--positively impact local economies. Using spatial statistics, researchers identified counties that were organic agriculture hotspots vs conventional agriculture hotspots – counties with high levels of agricultural activity whose neighboring counties also have high agricultural activity. They then analyzed spatial data in combination with economic data to determine if there were economic benefits associated with organic hotspots.  They found that compared to conventional agricultural hotspots, organic hotspots were associated with lower county-level poverty rates and higher median household income. “Our results may incentivize policymakers to specifically focus on organic development, rather than the more general development of agriculture, as a means to promote economic growth in rural areas, and may further point them in the direction of not only encouraging the presence of organic operations, but of fostering the development of clusters or hotspots of these operations,” the authors concluded.