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Losing the Family Farm Callie Rogers Jordan Holmes Ashley Bunch.

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Presentation on theme: "Losing the Family Farm Callie Rogers Jordan Holmes Ashley Bunch."— Presentation transcript:

1 Losing the Family Farm Callie Rogers Jordan Holmes Ashley Bunch

2 Family Farm Industrial Farm

3 What is a Family Farm  2.4% of population  Family owns most of land  Majority of labor is from family  Open Market System  Typically managed within the family

4 The Facts

5 Losing the Farm  Number of farms decreasing while acreage increasing  Decline from 7 million farms to 2 million over 70 years  750, 000 farms lost since 1981  Translates to 1 million lost jobs



8 Losing the Farm  Rate of self- employment in agriculture decreasing

9 Losing the Farm  GNP rose 40 fold, Private Domestic Product fell from 35% to 5.8%  2 ½% of nations total farms account for 40% of crop market  Farmers comprise 2% of work force  21% of workforce in the 1930s  Over half of family farms have an off farm income

10 Why This is Happening

11 Why the Trend?  Financial Incentives  Farm program benefits favor larger farms  Tax Rules  Lack of access to markets

12 Why the Trend?  Legislation  1985 “Economic Emergency” Loans  Due to farm debt crisis  Loaned to big investors  Many not collected  1987 Proposal to cut Agricultural Spending  1990 Farm Bill  Raise land requirements for payment

13 Why the Trend?  Unable to attract new investors  Average age of farmer risen to 54  Initial costs around $200,000  Inflation of land price  Equipment costs

14 Costs on the Rise

15 Why the Trend?  Industrialization  Vertically Integrated  Corporations involved in more than one step of production  Cargill, ConAgra  Trend toward “bigness”  Large field equipment used  Large acreage

16 Why the Trend?  Income offset by inflation  Nominal net income growth is extremely low when inflation is adjusted  In 1983, nominal net income of farmers was equal to that of the Great Depression

17 Effects of inflation

18 In 1980 a farmer received $.37 of every consumer dollar spent on food Today a farmer receives $.20 of every consumer dollar spent on food

19 Why the Trend?  New Generation  Selling off of family farm  Trend to move from rural area to city

20 Why the Trend?  Family Farmer Mentality  “Non-instinct for self preservation”  Concentration on individual farms rather than industry as a whole  Tax concessions

21 The Importance of the Family Farm

22  Job Opportunities  Large corporations create 9.44 jobs, displace 27.97  Productivity between large and small farms comparable  Possible Conservation opportunity  Thought that family farmers might preserve land for future generations

23 The Importance of the Family Farm  Importance to Rural Communities  Economic  Buy supplies from local vendors  Sell to local market  Large number of communities depend on farming  Majority of counties in Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas (277 counties) depend on farming  Decrease in farming has led to increased poverty  Reduction in the middle class

24 The Importance of the Family Farm  Importance to Rural Communities  Social Conditions  Better quality of life  Decrease in crime  Better education  Stronger Emphasis on family

25 The Importance of the Family Farm “Small family farms are at least as efficient as larger operations. In fact, there is evidence of diseconomies of scale as farm size increase.” --Willis Peterson, University of Minnesota analyst Productivity of Large vs. Small Farms

26 The Importance of the Family Farms  Methods for Better Productivity on Small Farms  Crop Diversification  Border Cropping  Major crop in fields  Minor crop on borders  Sequential  Short duration crops grown in between trees  Crop Rotation  Vary use of the land

27 The Importance of the Family Farm  Methods used on large farms  Monoculture  Same crop grown all seasons

28 The Importance of the Family Farm  Problems of monoculture systems  Empty “niche” spaces  Prone to weed infestation  Prone to soil erosion  Inefficient

29 The Importance of the Family Farm  Productivity of Large vs. Small Farms  Total Output vs. Yield  Why the productivity of large and small farms are comparable  Yield per unit area of one crop greater in large farms  Total yield per unit area usually greater in small farms

30 Yield Per Unit Area

31 Median Farm Size Category (Acres) Average Gross Output ($/Acre) Average Net Output ($/Acre) 474241400 271050139 5855282 8239660 11632253 15829955 19826953 23827456 35927054 69424951 136419139 67096312 Source: U.S. Agricultural Census, vol. 1, part 51, pp. 89-96, 1992. Total Output

32 The Importance of the Family Farm  Specialty Products  Gives small farmers advantage  High quality produce  Rare products  Out of season produce Fenugreek Dill Elderberries

33 What is Being Done?

34  Need for Government support  Direct payment amounts to half of net farm income  Enforce anti-trust laws to increase competitiveness  Increase of trade barriers  Income safety nets

35 What is Being Done?  National Family Farm Coalition  Coalition of Rural Farmers  33 states  Work to preserve family farm  Proposal in 2001 to “restore and maintain profitability on America’s family farms and ranches” to congress  National Farmer’s Union

36 What is Being Done?  Efforts to increase productivity  Better education  30% of family farmers now have college education  Improved technology  GPS (Global Positioning System)

37 Projections for the Future  If current trends continue, America’s Family Farms will vanish  25% decrease over 13 years  In order to reverse trends, government action must be taken  Without proper action, the agricultural market will be dominated by a few large corporate farms

38 Bibliography Farm Web. ICRP Discussion Points: Family Farms vs. Hog Factories. 1997. 31 Mar. 2004. Hassebrook, Chuck. “Saving the Family Farm; Family Farming is in the Public Interest and if We are to Save it, We Must Act Now” Forum for Applied Research and Policy. Sept. 1, 1999. W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 28 Mar. 2004 . Humphrey, Shirley and Eric Mussen. Small Farm Handbook. Oakland: U of California, 1994. Rosset, Peter M. “The Multiple Functions and Benefits of Small Farm Agriculture” Global Trade Negotiations Sept. 1999. Food First. 31 Mar. 2004.

39 Bibliography Size, Structure, and the Changing Face of American Agriculture. Ed. Arne Hallam. Boulder: Westview Press, 1993 Tweeten, Luther, et al. Structure of Agriculture and Information Needs Regarding Small Farms. Washington: National Rural Center, 1980. United States Department of Agriculture. A Time to Act. Jan. 1998. 31 Mar. 2004. University of Missouri Extension. Does the Family Farm Really Matter? October 1993. 28 Mar. 2004..

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