Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
size and in terms of output per acre. This has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number
of farmers. Over the middle eighty years of the twentieth century, the number of farmers
fell from 30 percent of the population to under 2 percent. Still, it is most remarkable that the
basic family organization of farming has remained in tact, with some notable exceptions.
In addition to the variation in farm organization, considerable differences exist in terms of
how farmers contract with one another. Both cropshare and cash rent contracts are prevalent
in modern agriculture. Though the relative number of contracts has remained stable over
the past century, very recently there have been trends toward more cash renting. When
cropsharing exists, many shares are used with 50-50 being common, but not always the
most dominant. Input sharing is also a very important part of cropshare contracts. The
farm-level data that we use to test our model predictions come from across the North
American continent and provide us with considerable variation in terms of crops grown
and geographical conditions.
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