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Abstract

Farm numbers and average farm size in the United States have held about constant since the 1974 Census. but the proportion of mid-sized farms has decreased This pattern follows four decades of a strong trend toward fewer and larger farms Markov analysis IS a standard procedure for projecting changes In the number and distribution of firms In an Industry based on observations of recent changes Previous applications to the US farm sector have met With difficulty because of a lack of appropriate data This article applies Markov analysis to a recently available longitudinal data set for 1974-78 from the Census of Agriculture The model predicts reasonably well the actual changes during 1978-82 and indicates that the future distribution of farms by acres per farm will be more like the present than the present is like the past

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