The Agricultural and Rural Policy Implications of a Changing Agricultural Sector

The farm sector has evolved from a homogeneous group - with relatively few differences in size, management, and composition - to one with significant differences even within specific commodity sector.  There are now distinctions between farm, farmer, and farm family, historically assumed to be one-in-the-same, and this has implications for defining the targets of farm and rural policy. Because of this fragmentation in the sector, there is a push away from uniform, catch-all policies to ones targeted toward specific farms and their operators. Consequently, it is important to assess the effect of alternative targets on the efficiency and impacts of agricultural and rural policy initiatives, and to determine whether current definitions of farmer, farm or farm familyadequately measure the achievement of policy goals.

This research will disaggregate the data to gain a better understanding of who is farming, their management strategies and their relationships within the sector, in order to understand the variations in profitability and competitiveness within the industry. Understanding the variations across farms can provide insight into key benchmarks that differentiate profitable farms and to understand the key drivers of competitiveness for improving individual farm management. This difference can also be crucial in analyzing the effectiveness of farm and rural policies on their intended targets.  This study will also examine the success of the risk management programs (i.e. BRM) via various measures of success and well-being at the farm, individual, and household level.


Project Leader: Alfons Weersink

Economics of Farm Income and Farm Structure
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