The importance of ownership arrangements in U.S. agriculture1

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10 Scopus citations


According to a number of observers of the U.S. economy, large publicly traded corporations can be viewed as a social problem primarily because of their association with the concentration of wealth and power. In agriculture, nine states have laws which restrict or proscribe public corporations from engaging in farming. Also, groups and individuals have attempted to preserve non-corporate production enterprises in agriculture through the establishment of direct markets such as farmers' markets. Proponents of such efforts believe public corporations have negative economic impacts; opponents of such efforts, especially efforts to establish and retain anti-corporate farming laws, argue that corporations can provide economic benefits to rural areas. These debates beg the question of whether ownership and direct marketing arrangements have important influences on economic outcomes such as levels of cash returns from farming and increases in the number of farms realizing cash gains. Using multi-year, county-level data from the Census of Agriculture, this study finds that, even when holding a number of important variables constant, ownership arrangements, as well as the interaction between the percentage of total sales which are direct sales and the percentage of farms selling directly, are important determinants of both net cash returns and the percentage of farms realizing cash gains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-213
Number of pages15
JournalRural Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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