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New facts for old debates: Farm size and productivity in US agriculture

Temel, Tugrul (2011): New facts for old debates: Farm size and productivity in US agriculture.

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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between farm size and productivity in U.S. agriculture during 1982-92. A nonparametric regression method is applied to detect ex-post geographical patterns in changes in farm size and productivity. The estimations show that (i) in 1982 productivity per acre was high in the East, West, and South, modest in the middle part of the U.S., and low in the North, and this pattern remained the same during 1987-92, while the level of productivity continously increased over time; (ii) during 1982-92 farm size remained unchanged, large farms in the middle belt stretching from North to South and small ones in the East, West and South; and �nally (iii) during 1982-92 an inverse relationship grew stronger between farm size and productivity. Furthermore, with the application of Markov chains approach, we projected the above patterns into the future. The �ndings suggest: (i) farms are likely to experience ower productivity; (ii) small and large farms are likely to coexist as medium-sized farms to vanish; and (iii) the inverse relationship is likely to show a strong geographical pattern.

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