Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Measuring and causes of inequality in farm sizes in the United States


Author Info

  • Dragan Miljkovic


This article examines the notion of farm size inequality expressed as sales inequality in the United States. The farm size index (FSI) is developed as a measure of farm size inequality. FSIs are calculated for the farming sector in all 50 states and large variation in farm size across the states and over time is determined. The largest FSIs are calculated for a number of Southern, Southwestern, and Pacific states. Increasing FSIs over time are observed in all states as well. The spatial and temporal (between 1987 and 1997) differences in FSIs are explained by running a pooled, cross-sectional time-series model. The most influential variables accounting for the differences have to do with the ownership structure, where a larger presence of individual and family farms relative to corporate farms and cooperatives leads to a lower degree of farm size inequality. Also, states and regions having relatively larger number of farms owned by minorities have higher FSIs. Shrinking opportunities in the agricultural sector relative to the rest of the economy, primarily services, are reflected in a declining share of agricultural sector state income in total gross state product (GSP). This in turn leads to an increase in the farming sector's FSI suggesting that only larger, more profitable operations are the likely candidates to pursue farming activities. Finally, grains farming regions have all lower degree of farm size inequality than livestock or fruits and vegetables regions. Profitable grains farming requires relatively large farm size and equipment investments, which leads to a relatively homogeneous structure of grains farms. A larger variation in the size of profitable farm operations is possible in fruits and vegetables and livestock. This leads to the existence of a large number of very small but still sustainable farms, and a relatively small number of large farms that capture most of market sales share. Copyright 2005 International Association of Agricultural Economics.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its journal Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (07)
Pages: 21-27

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:33:y:2005:i:1:p:21-27

Contact details of provider:
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:

Related research



No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Josep Mª Argilés Bosch & Josep García Blandón, 2011. "The influence of size on cost behaviour associated with tactical and operational flexibility," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 38(2 Year 20), pages 419-455, December.
  2. Prasanna, P.A. Lakshmi & Kumar, Sant & Singh, Aruna, 2009. "Rice Production in India — Implications of Land Inequity and Market Imperfections," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 22(2009).
  3. Kimhi, Ayal & Tzur, Nitzan, 2011. "Long-Run Trends in the Farm Size Distribution in Israel: The Role of Part-Time Farming," Discussion Papers, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Agricultural Economics and Management 99217, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Agricultural Economics and Management.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:33:y:2005:i:1:p:21-27. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.