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Multifunctional Agriculture and Farm Viability in the United States

Jason Brown (), Stephan Goetz and David Fleming ()

No 126929, 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington from Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Abstract: Multifunctionality of agriculture is being heralded as a way to achieve food and fiber production while simultaneously providing ecological services and promoting rural development through the establishment of new enterprises. However, in order for multifunctional agriculture to achieve these objectives it must be viable. To date there have been no empirical studies assessing the current regional distribution of multifunctional activities in the U.S. Using the 2002 and 2007 Census of Agriculture we use regional econometric models to estimate the impact of county-level measures of multifunctional activities on farm viability as measured by the change in the number of farms. Results indicate that direct sales for human consumption were associated with increases in the number of farms only in New England. An increase in income from agritourism and recreational services within a county was associated with reduced farm viability nationally and in three regions. In three of the eight regions results confirm previous findings that off-farm labor income is a means of diversifying and potentially stabilizing total income of farm households, and that it may also serve as a financial platform for new entrants into farming.

Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban; Development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 31
Date: 2012-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.126929

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