Understanding the Microdynamics of Farm StructuralChange: Entry, Exit and Restructuring among Wisconsin Family Farmers
Despite many differences among competing theories of agrarian transformation, all tend to presume that aggregate structural changes are essentially a reflection of changes taking place on individual farms over time. This presumption has been reinforced by a reliance on aggregated county-level census data or cross-sectional surveys of individual farm operations, which unfortunately afford few opportunities to test conventional assumptions about the underlying dynamics of the process. Given the large gross flows into and out of the farm sector, this paper examines the question: do aggregate structural changes primarily result from adaptations made on continuing farms, or are they the product of selective entry and exit processes? Data from a panel study of Wisconsin farmers are used to shed light on the micro-dynamics of structural change. The results suggest that continuing farmers often adapt in ways very different from aggregate trends. They also demonstrate how the character of entry and exit patterns is critical to the structural change process.
Jackson-Smith, D. B. 1999. “Understanding the Microdynamics of Farm Structural Change: Entry, Exit and Restructuring among Wisconsin Family Farmers,” Rural Sociology, 64(1):66-91.