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Do the Largest Firms Grow and Diversify the Fastest? The Case of U.S. Dairies

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  • Almuhanad Melhim
  • Erik J. O'Donoghue
  • C. Richard Shumway

Abstract

We analyze growth and diversification of U.S. dairy farms by examining changes in ten size cohorts and new entrants through three successive censuses. We reject Gibrat's law and the mean reversion hypothesis of growth. Growth rates appear bimodal where the smallest and largest farm cohorts grow fastest. All cohorts diversify but the largest farms do not diversify as rapidly as medium-sized farms. New entrants are generally large, and they diversify more rapidly than comparably sized incumbents do. These data suggest that scale economies persist even for the largest cohort of U.S. dairy farms and scale economies dominate scope economies for large farms. Copyright 2009 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

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  • Almuhanad Melhim & Erik J. O'Donoghue & C. Richard Shumway, 2009. "Do the Largest Firms Grow and Diversify the Fastest? The Case of U.S. Dairies," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 31(2), pages 284-302, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:revage:v:31:y:2009:i:2:p:284-302
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kostov, Philip & Patton, Myles & Moss, Joan E. & McErlean, Seamus, 2005. "Does Gibrat's Law Hold Amongst Dairy Farmers in Northern Ireland?," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24775, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Mosheim, Roberto & Lovell, C.A. Knox, 2006. "Economic Efficiency, Structure and Scale Economies in the U.S. Dairy Sector," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21440, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. Daniel A. Summer & Christopher A. Wolf, 2002. "Diversification, Vertical Integration, and the Regional Pattern of Dairy Farm Size," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 24(2), pages 442-457.
    4. Antonio Alvarez & Carlos Arias, 2003. "Diseconomies of Size with Fixed Managerial Ability," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(1), pages 134-142.
    5. Tauer, Loren W. & Mishra, Ashok K., 2006. "Can the small dairy farm remain competitive in US agriculture?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 458-468, October.
    6. P. A. Geroski, 2005. "Understanding the implications of empirical work on corporate growth rates," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 129-138.
    7. Skolrud, Tristan D. & O'Donoghue, Erik J. & Shumway, C. Richard & Melhim, Almuhanad, 2007. "Farm Growth, Consolidation, and Diversification: Washington Dairy Industry," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 22(2).
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    Cited by:

    1. Zimmermann, Andrea & Heckelei, Thomas, 2012. "Differences of farm structural change across European regions," Discussion Papers 162879, University of Bonn, Institute for Food and Resource Economics.
    2. Heath Henderson & Leonardo Corral & Eric Simning & Paul Winters, 2014. "Land Accumulation Dynamics in Developing Country Agriculture," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6560, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Heath Henderson & Leonardo Corral & Eric Simning & Paul Winters, 2015. "Land Accumulation Dynamics in Developing Country Agriculture," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(6), pages 743-761, June.
    4. Höhler, Julia & Kuhl, Rainer, 2014. "Corporations in an evolving competitive environment - evidence for the German agribusiness," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182689, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Rajsic, Predrag, 2013. "Cost Structure of the Ontario Dairy Industry Revisited: Distributional Aspects," Working Papers 157407, Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network.
    6. Heath Henderson & Leonardo Corral & Eric Simning & Paul Winters, 2015. "Land Accumulation Dynamics in Developing Country Agriculture," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(6), pages 743-761, June.
    7. Nehring, Richard F. & Sauer, Johannes & Gillespie, Jeffrey M. & Hallahan, Charles B., 2011. "Intensive versus Extensive Dairy Production Systems: Dairy States in the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. and Key Pasture Countries the E.U.: Determining the Competitive Edge," 2011 Annual Meeting, February 5-8, 2011, Corpus Christi, Texas 98824, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    8. Hohler, Julia & Kuhl, Rainer, 2014. "Do Growth Rates Depend On The Initial Firm Size? Evidence For The German Agribusiness," 54th Annual Conference, Goettingen, Germany, September 17-19, 2014 187593, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).

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    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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