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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 The Importance of the Family Farm
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
Productivity of Large vs. Small Farms “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

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 Diversification-reduce risks of crop failure, more adapted to small farms, hard to manage with heavy machinery Sequential-crops grown in succession in lines between trees (legumes or oilseeds in particular)-especially used in marginal or dry lands Crop rotation-many small farmers mix livestock with crops thereby replenishing nutrients Border cropping-major crop in fields, minor crop on borders

27 The Importance of the Family Farm
Methods used on large farms Monoculture Same crop grown all seasons Easier to manage with heavy machinery Irrigation system is essential

28 The Importance of the Family Farm
Problems of monoculture systems Empty “niche” spaces Prone to weed infestation Prone to soil erosion Inefficient More soil surface is covered and the less intense the tillage the less soil detachment

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 Yield of certain crop greater as acreage increases

31 Total Output Median Farm Size Category (Acres) Average Gross Output ($/Acre) Average Net Output ($/Acre) 4 7424 1400 27 1050 139 58 552 82 396 60 116 322 53 158 299 55 198 269 238 274 56 359 270 54 694 249 51 1364 191 39 6709 63 12 Must look at total output/acre to get accurate account Small farms have diversity of crops and utilize empty niche places unused by monoculture systems Source: U.S. Agricultural Census, vol. 1, part 51, pp , 1992.

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

33 What is Being Done?

34 What is Being Done? 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 Mar < 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, W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 28 Mar < 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 Food First Mar <

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, United States Department of Agriculture. A Time to Act. Jan Mar < University of Missouri Extension. Does the Family Farm Really Matter? October Mar. 2004 < 20.htm>.

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