Deputy Director


Kerstin Martens
Institute of Farm Economics

Bundesallee 63
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5102
Fax: +49 531 596 5199

Analyses of the economic situation of organic farming


Is organic farming profitable for farms? Information from the Farm Accountancy Data Network provides an answer. (c) BLE, Bonn/Thomas Stephan
Is organic farming profitable for farms? Information from the Farm Accountancy Data Network provides an answer. (© BLE, Bonn/Thomas Stephan)

The organic area shall further grow in view the German government. This requires that the organic management is profitable. Book-keeping records of the Farm Accountancy Network provide relevant information, if this was the case in the last years.

Background and Objective

The economic performance of organic farming has a major influence on the development of the organic sector. The income development in organic farms is therefore analysed every year on the basis of bookkeeping results from the German Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN, data from representatively selected farms in Germany).

In order to be able to assess the financial situation of organic farming in Germany, the income of organically managed FADN farms is compared to the income of comparable conventional farms. Since the regional distribution and the farm structures of organic farms differ significantly, it does not make sense to compare the average organic farms with the average of all conventional farms. That is why every organic farm is only comparable to conventional farms with similar locational conditions (for example same region and farm type, similar soil conditions) and equipment (for example similar amount of land, similar milk quotas). The selected conventional individual farms are aggregated into one group for comparison so that for each organic farm a conventional comparison group is available.

Preliminary Results

In the economic year 2018/19 organic FADN farms achieved a profit plus labour costs per average working unit (AWU) of on average of € 37 447. In comparison to the previous year, that is an decline of 6 %.  Comparable conventional farms yield an average profit plus labour cost per AWU of € 27 453. The average income of organic farms thus exceeded the income of conventional comparable farms by 36% last year. 

For the FY 2018/19 the accountancy results of 456 organic farms and 2 026 comparable conventional farms were used.

Links and Downloads



Permanent task 1.1996 - 12.2020

Publications to the project

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  1. Offermann F, Nieberg H (2000) Economic performance of organic farms in Europe. Stuttgart-Hohenheim: Institut für Landwirtschaftliche Betriebslehre, XVIII, 198 p, Organic Farming Europe 5

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