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Organic Farm Location Affects Biodiversity and Profits

Scientists at Washington State University published an analysis in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showing that organic agriculture sites had 34% more biodiversity and 50% more profits than conventional agriculture sites, even though the organic sites had 18% lower crop yields. The study also showed the importance of location for organic farms. As the fields surrounding the organic farms grew larger, the organic farms’ advantage in biodiversity increased, but they became less profitable compared to conventional operations. This suggested that biodiversity, crop yields, and profitability function independently of one another, but are influenced by landscape context.