Farm structure, market structure and agricultural sustainability goals: The case of New York State dairying

Rick Welsh, Thomas A. Lyson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper explores issues of agricultural sustainability in relation to arguments to sustain the family labor farm and the theoretical justification for the recent increase in smaller-scale milk processors and differentiated dairy product markets. Using a population of New York State dairy farm households, we identified farm structural variables that influence farmers' use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and their consideration of intensive rotational grazing. Milk sales, division of hired labor on the farm, and ownership arrangements are found to be interrelated and predict relative use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers within a "conventional" confinement feeding system. Marketing strategies predict production practices within a confinement feeding system less reliably but do predict whether the farm has considered adopting an intensive grazing system. Farms that have higher sales, that use hired labor more extensively, and that are not single family operations are more likely to use chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Farms that sell to differentiated markets are more likely to look favorably on an eventual switch to an intensive rotational grazing system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-18
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Alternative Agriculture
Volume12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Craft production
  • Mass production
  • Niche markets
  • Pesticides
  • Rotational graying
  • Sustainable agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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