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Effects of Alternative Farm Policies on Farm and Nonfarm Sectors of Rural America

  • Steven T. Sonka (a1) and Earl O. Heady (a2)

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During the last three decades, a major change affecting rural America has been the dramatic increase in the productivity of agricultural labor. Output per farm worker increased by 237 percent between 1947 and 1970. Although this growth in productivity provided increased income to some farm operators, it also resulted in decreased income opportunities for others. This decrease in opportunities led to migration of people from rural to urban areas. As the farming industry became more mechanized and as more rural residents were forced to migrate to urban areas in quest of jobs, the economic viability of many rural communities declined drastically. Mayer summarizes these changes in economic activity as follows:

“… the changing structure of agricultural production has significantly altered the flows of money in rural towns. More money flows to sources in urban areas and less remains to provide jobs in rural towns. As mechanization of agriculture increased and as capital intensification occurred, rural towns have experienced a slow draw-down of economic vitality.”

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[1]Babb, E. M.Bargaining Methods in Agriculture” in Bargaining Power for Farmers. Ames, Iowa: The Iowa State University Press, 1968.
[2]Brandow, George E.Will Bargaining Power Really Work?” in Bargaining Power for Farmers. Ames, Iowa: The Iowa State University Press, 1968.
[3]Eber, Elderidge. “Trends Related to Rural Areas” in Rural Community Development Seminar: Focus on Iowa, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, 1972.
[4]Varden, Fuller and Vuuren, William Van. “Farm Labor and Labor Markets.” Size, Structure and Future of Farms, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, 1972.
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[6]Earl O., Heady, and Sonka, Steven T.. Income and Employment Generation in Rural Areas in Relation to Alternative Farm Programs with Special Emphasis on the North Central Region. North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, Iowa State University, 1973.
[7]Don, Kaldor. “Rural Industrialization: A Policy Instrument for Rural Development” in Rural Community Development Seminar: Focus on Iowa, Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Iowa State University, 1972.
[8]Howard C., Madsen and Heady, Earl O.. Bargaining Power Programs: Estimated Effects on Production, Net Farm Incomes and Food Costs for Specified Price Levels. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, CARD Report 39, Sept. 1971.
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[10]Leroy, Quance, and Tweeten, Luther G.. “Policies, 1930–70” in Size, Structure, and Future of Farms, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State Univeristy, 1972.
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[12]Schluter, Gerald E.An Estimation of Agricultural Employment through an Input-Output Study.” Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Iowa State University, 1971.
[13]Schnittker, John A.Distribution of Benefits from Existing and Prospective Farm Programs” in Benefits and Burdens of Rural Development, Center for Agricultural and Economic Development, Iowa State University, 1970.
[14]Conrad, Taeuber. “Rural People Not on Farms” in Benefits and Burdens of Rural Development, Center for Agricultural and Economic Development, Iowa State University, 1970.
[15]Tweeten, Luther G.Emerging Issues for Sparsely Populated Areas and Regions Under a National Growth Policy.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics Vol. 55, Number 5, Dec. 1973, pp. 840849.
[16]U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. 1971 Handbook of Agricultural Charts. Agriculture Handbook No. 423, 1971.
[17]Wadsworth, H.A.Community Planning and Decision Making to Attract Industry” in Rural Industrialization: Problems and.Potentials, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, Iowa State University, 1974.
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Effects of Alternative Farm Policies on Farm and Nonfarm Sectors of Rural America

  • Steven T. Sonka (a1) and Earl O. Heady (a2)

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