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Abstract

Significant changes under the 1996 FAIR Act and trade agreements are occurring in the U.S. farm sector. The changes will affect both the source and the magnitude of the business and financial risks that farmers will be required to manage. The objectives of this study were to investigate farmer plans regarding business expansion, timing of expansion, and expected financing of that business expansion and to analyze their financial services and risk management strategies. The study was based on data from a nationwide survey of subscribers to Top Operator farm magazine. The data were categorized into six groups for analysis: demographics, intergenerational transfer, debt characteristics, lender relationships, business expansion, and farmer expectations of their lenders. Statistical techniques were used to evaluate differences among farmers across regions of the country, types of farm businesses, and sizes of farm businesses.

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