Based on the fact that not all farmers adopt a technology at the same time, it is argued in this paper that the distinction between groups is important because early, medium and late adopters respond differently to economic and non-economic factors when they consider whether to take up organic farming or not. The individual effects on adoption between the groups are identified by the use of multinomial logit analysis. The results provide evidence that there are significant differences in the characteristics between the adopter groups. The findings also reveal that the factors that affect adoption play a different role for early, medium and late adopters, particularly with regard to farming intensity, age, information gathering as well as attitudes of the farmer. More specifically, early adopters were the youngest to adopt organic farming and their decisions were found to be less profit related compared to other groups. Late adoption is constrained by risk considerations, while environmental attitudes and social learning were identified to be important determinants for all adopter groups. Overall, the findings strongly suggest, that for policy measures to be effective, the current state of diffusion has to be taken into account. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.