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Agricultural policy debates: Examining the alternative and conventional perspectives

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2009

Curtis E. Beus
Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology and Extension Economic Development Specialist, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2124;
Riley E. Dunlap
Professor of Sociology and Rural Sociology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4006.
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Control of agricultural policymaking by the “agricultural establishment” has been challenged by a wide range of interests concerned with the externalities of modern industrialized agriculture. An “externalities/alternatives” or “ex/al” coalition appears to be an emerging force in agricultural policy debates. We surveyed three alternative agriculture groups, three conventional agriculture groups, and a statewide sample of farmers to learn whether each category forms a distinct, unified interest group whose perspectives on agricultural policy diverge substantially from the others'. There is considerable similarity among the alternative agriculture groups and among the conventional agriculture groups, the differences between them being much greater than the differences within each category. The statewide farmer sample is generally intermediate between the two sets of interest groups, but is closer to the conventional perspective on most issues.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1993

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