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Environmental and economic evaluation of conventional and organic production systems in the Canadian Prairie Provinces



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Greenhouse gas emissions have been a growing concern throughout the world, particularly in the Western society. Agriculture has been identified as both a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and a potential solution in mitigating emissions through carbon sequestration. Changing agriculture current production practices (called conventional production system) to an organic production system can reduce the need for synthetically produced agricultural inputs, and thereby reduce these emissions. However, this may generate other co-benefits (or costs) to the society. The focus of this study was to evaluate the implications of converting conventional agriculture production system to an organic one for greenhouse gas emissions, level of agricultural production, farmer net income, regional and national level changes (in terms of gross domestic product, household income, and employment levels). The scope of the study was limited to the Prairie Provinces in Canada. This area was selected because it contained a majority of area under organic production system in Canada. Since there are several types of changes resulting from the conversion, a trade-off analysis was used to evaluate the overall desirability of the two options - conventional production system and the organic production system. Multiple models were used to estimate various criteria. These included: the Canadian Regional Agriculture Model (CRAM), the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Model (GHGEM), and the Canadian Agriculture Regional Development Input-Output Model (CARDIOM). The study concluded that converting land under conventional production system to an organic production system reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves regional gross domestic product, household income, and employment. However, it results in a reduction in quantity of agricultural production, national gross domestic product, national household income, and national employment.



conventional, economic, environment, organic



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Agricultural Economics


Agricultural Economics


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