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How much do farmers value their independence?

Nigel Key

Agricultural Economics, 2005, vol. 33, issue 1, 117-126

Abstract: A farmer's decision to contract or produce independently depends on the distribution of income and the nonpecuniary attributes associated with both business arrangements. The benefits to growers from contracting (such as risk reduction) may be overestimated if the nonpecuniary benefits enjoyed by independent producers (such as the right to make management decisions and own the commodity produced) are not accounted for. This study uses data from a U.S. national survey of hog producers to estimate (1) the difference in expected net returns between contracting and independent production, (2) the premium a representative farmer would pay for the risk reduction provided by a contract, and (3) the premium a farmer would pay for the nonpecuniary benefits associated with independent production. Results indicate that growers have a strong preference for autonomy—with moderately risk‐averse growers being willing to pay more for the attributes of independent production than they would for the risk‐reducing benefits of a contract.

Date: 2005
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