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Farm Families

I've read it More information. This calls for a multidisciplinary approach and the review attempts to draw together insights from industrial economics, social anthropology, history and rural sociology as they apply to the farm family business. The literature review points to opposing tendencies within the population of farm businesses.

Family forms of organisation and relationships may have become less relevant to farming at the lower end of the size scale but more relevant to the conduct of a successful large farm business. Volume 39 , Issue 1. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account.

Made Here - Lilac Ridge: Life on a Family Farm

If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Journal of Agricultural Economics. Gasson Search for more papers by this author. Crow Search for more papers by this author. Errington Search for more papers by this author. Hutson Search for more papers by this author. Marsden Search for more papers by this author. Thomas Jefferson 's argument that a large number of family estates are a factor in ensuring the stability of democracy was repeatedly used in support of subsidies.

Farm to Families

In developed countries the family farm is viewed sentimentally, as a lifestyle to be preserved for tradition's sake, or as a birthright. It is in these nations very often a political rallying cry against change in agricultural policy , most commonly in France , Japan , and the United States , where rural lifestyles are often regarded as desirable.

In these countries, strange bedfellows can often be found arguing for similar measures despite otherwise vast differences in political ideology. For example, Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader , both candidates for the office of President of the United States , held rural rallies together and spoke for measures to preserve the so-called family farm.

On other economic matters they were seen as generally opposed, but found common ground on this one. The social roles of family farms are much changed today. Until recently, staying in line with traditional and conservative sociology, the heads of the household were usually the oldest man followed closely by his oldest sons. The wife generally took care of the housework, child rearing, and financial matters pertaining to the farm.

However, agricultural activities have taken on many forms and change over time. Agronomy , horticulture , aquaculture , silviculture , and apiculture , along with traditional plants and animals, all make up aspects of today's family farm. Farm wives often need to find work away from the farm to supplement farm income and children sometimes have no interest in farming as their chosen field of work. Bolder promoters argue that as agriculture has become more efficient with the application of modern management and new technologies in each generation, the idealized classic family farm is now simply obsolete, or more often, unable to compete without the economies of scale available to larger and more modern farms.

Advocates argue that family farms in all nations need to be protected, as the basis of rural society and social stability. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, ninety-eight percent of all farms in the U. Over the 20th century, the people of developed nations have collectively taken most of the steps down the path to this situation. Individual farmers opted for successive waves of new technology, happily "trading in their horses for a tractor", increasing their debt and their production capacity.

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This in turn required larger, more distant markets, and heavier and more complex financing. The public willingly purchased increasingly commoditized, processed, shipped and relatively inexpensive food. The availability of an increasingly diverse supply of fresh, uncured, unpreserved produce and meat in all seasons of the year oranges in January, freshly killed steers in July, fresh pork rather than salted, smoked, or potassium-impregnated ham opened an entirely new cuisine and an unprecedented healthy diet to millions of consumers who had never enjoyed such produce before.

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These abilities also brought to market an unprecedented variety of processed foods, such as corn syrup and bleached flour. For the family farm this new technology and increasingly complex marketing strategy has presented new and unprecedented challenges, and not all family farmers have been able to effectively cope with the changing market conditions.

In the last few decades there has been a resurgence of interest in organic and free range foods. A percentage of consumers have begun to question the viability of industrial agriculture practices and have turned to organic groceries that sell products produced on family farms including not only meat and produce but also such things as wheat germ breads and natural lye soaps as opposed to bleached white breads and petroleum based detergent bars.

Others buy these products direct from family farms. The "new family farm" provides an alternative market in some localities with an array of traditionally and naturally produced products.

Such "organic" and "free-range" farming is attainable where a significant number of affluent urban and suburban consumers willingly pay a premium for the ideals of "locally produced produce" and "humane treatment of animals". Sometimes, these farms are hobby or part-time ventures, or supported by wealth from other sources. Viable farms on a scale sufficient to support modern families at an income level commensurate with urban and suburban upper-middle-class families are often large scale operations, both in area and capital requirements.

These farms, family owned and operated in a technologically and economically conventional manner, produce crops and animal products oriented to national and international markets, rather than to local markets. In assessing this complex economic situation, it is important to consider all sources of income available to these farms; for instance, the millions of dollars in farm subsidies which the United States government offers each year.

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As fuel prices rise, foods shipped to national and international markets are already rising in price. In , the United States had 2,, family farms as defined by USDA , accounting for 97 percent of all farms and 89 percent of census farm area in the United States. Because of the predominance of family farms, the types of farming conducted on US family farms are essentially those of US agriculture overall. Mid-size and larger family farms account for 60 percent of US farm production and dominate US production of cotton, cash grain and hogs. Small family farms account for 26 percent of US farm production overall, and higher percentages of production of poultry, beef cattle, some other livestock and hay.

Tough Times Never Last, Tough Farm Families Do! by Andy Junkin

Because low net farm incomes tend to predominate on such farms, most farm families on small family farms are extremely dependent on off-farm income. These are:. Family farms include not only sole proprietorships and family partnerships, but also family corporations. Family-owned corporations account for 5 percent of all farms and 89 percent of corporate farms in the United States.

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  6. In Canada, the number of "family farms" cannot be inferred closely, because of the nature of census data, which do not distinguish family and non-family farm partnerships. The family farm percentage is likely to be near the high end of this range, for two reasons.


    The partners in a [Canadian] farm partnership are typically spouses, often forming the farm partnership for tax reasons. Conversion of a sole proprietorship family farm to a family corporation may also be influenced by legal and financial, e. The Canadian Encyclopedia estimates that more than 90 percent of Canadian farms are family operations.