Using data from the Census of Agriculture and other secondary sources, we examine the relationship between scale of farm operations in a county and the well-being of local residents. Following earlier work by C. Wright Mills and Walter Goldschmidt, we hypothesize that in agriculture dependent counties that are dominated by a small handful of very large farms, the level of community welfare will be significantly lower than in counties in which agriculture is organized around smaller-scale farm operations. Findings show that scale of farm operations is related to well-being. However, this relationship is mediated by the level of civic engagement and the strength of the economically independent middle class. A theory of civic community is proposed to account for these findings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science