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Are Farmers of the Middle Distinctively “Good Stewards?” Evidence from the Missouri Farm Poll, 2006

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  • James, Harvey S., Jr.
  • Hendrickson, Mary K.
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    Abstract

    In this paper we consider the question of whether middle-scale farmers, which we define as producers generating between $100,000 and $250,000 in sales annually, are better agricultural stewards than small and large-scale producers. Our study is motivated by the argument of some commentators that farmers of this class ought to be protected in part because of the unique attitudes and values they possess regarding what constitutes a “good farmer”. We present results of a survey of Missouri farmers designed to assess farmer attitudes and values regarding a variety of indicators of farmer stewardship, such as the most important issues in agriculture, environment and treatment of farm animals, perspectives on the past and future of agriculture, and ethical behavior. We find no evidence that farmers-of-the-middle are particularly noteworthy in these regards. We do find evidence, however, that middle-scale farmers are more pessimistic and anxious about their role in the future of agriculture.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Missouri Columbia, Department of Agricultural Economics in its series Working Papers with number 92623.

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    Date of creation: 14 Oct 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:umcowp:92623

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    Keywords: Farmers of the middle; good farmer; agrarianism; farmer attitudes and values; Environmental Economics and Policy;

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    1. Christopher A. Wolf & Daniel A. Sumner, 2001. "Are Farm Size Distributions Bimodal? Evidence from Kernel Density Estimates of Dairy Farm Size Distributions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(1), pages 77-88.
    2. Brian C. Briggeman & Allan W. Gray & Mitchell J. Morehart & Timothy G. Baker & Christine A. Wilson, 2007. "A New U.S. Farm Household Typology: Implications for Agricultural Policy," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 765-782.
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