This paper uses data from a survey of 710 Michigan farm families who actively sought assistance in transitioning from farm to off-farm employment during the period of 1986 to 1988. Respondents were divided into three transition groups depending on the degree to which they depend off-farm income. The three groups represent farm households that have completely transitioned out of agriculture, largely transitioned out, and those who are still primarily dependent on agriculture. Results reveal that 33 percent have made a complete transition, 48 percent are part-time farming, and 19 percent are full-time farming. Those practicing part-time farming were found to have higher incomes than those who completely quit farming and those full-time farming. Education, application of skills to off-farm employment, and the gender of household members seeking employment assistance were found to be significant factors in the ability to transition out of farming. Allocation of family labor was also found to be important--those who have made the greatest economic recovery most often had two family members working off-farm in 1990.


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