U.S. Agricultural Labor Out-migration Determinants, 1939-2004

Using annual U.S. time series data from 1939 to 2004, we assess economic determinants of migration out of agriculture for four groups of migrants in the United States hired farm workers, farm operators, farm family workers, and a composite group of farm workers. For each group, various specifications of the farm-nonfarm labor returns differential are major determinants of agricultural out-migration. Conservation program payments contribute to hired farm worker out-migration, stave off farm family worker migration, but do not affect migration for farm operators and total agricultural workers. Federal income and price support payments fail to slow out-migration the four groups. Increased agricultural land values reduce the flow of both hired farm workers and farm operators out of agriculture, but do not contribute to out-migration of farm family workers and agricultural workers in general. Off-farm income suppresses total agricultural labor out-migration. Our findings suggests the need for alternative government policies such as those directly affecting job creation and rural economic developing efforts to stem farm employment losses and to maintain the rural economic viability.

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Replaced with revised version of paper 06/01/06.
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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