Via WC, a study by the International Fund for Agricultural Development concludes that organic farming offers farmers in developing countries higher earnings and a better standard of living. The higher earnings come from organic product being worth more (duh), and the better standard of living comes from the higher earnings and the not being poisoned with herbicides and pesticides.
I was looking around in there for some reason why the conclusions wouldn’t transfer straightforwardly to small farmers in developed countries. The answer seems to lie mainly in transition costs — since developing world farmers don’t really use expensive technologies and chemicals anyway, it’s a pretty easy jump to organic (the main impediment being certification and other paperwork).
But still. I’d like to see some sort of similar study done in the U.S. How long would it take for a small U.S. farmer (we still have a few right?) to make back the money he/she spends transitioning to organic? Presumably the data’s out there somewhere, but as a rushed, overworked blogger, I think I’ll just conclude by asking readers if they know where to find it. (It’s called a bleg.)