Implications of Changing Farm Structure in Cache Valley

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The purpose of this project is to quantify and characterize the transition in farm structure in Cache Valley over the last 50 years. We initially expected to see a dramatic reduction in the number of family farms in Cache Valley, and we expected that most growth in the agricultural industry had stemmed from large industrial farms.

This project attempts to “tell the story” of farm structural change in Cache Valley. It begins with a rigorous quantitative exploration of farming in Cache valley, examining farm sizes, the amount of farmed land, and the number of farms. We differentiate between family and industrial farming on the basis of the principal source of labor. Then, original perspectives on the state of agriculture in Cache Valley were collected from a number of prominent local agriculturists.

We examine the different drivers of change in the agricultural makeup of the valley, including those that are regulatory, technological, or market-based in nature. We also highlight some of the environmental concerns related to changing farm structures. We conclude by predicting what the future holds for farming in Cache Valley, including how and why small family farms seem to always stick around.