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Abstract

This study uses a linked-farm approach (linking farms over time) and a cohort approach (farms that started operating in the same year) to determine exit rates conditional on the number of years a farm has been operating. Linear forecasting, moving-average forecasting, and using data from a later Census are used to re-estimate the number of new farms in their first year of operating. Using the linked-farm approach, an average annual entry rate of 7.5% and exit rate of 8.5% is estimated for 2007 to 2012, which vary based on the farmer’s lifecycle. The cohort approach shows that exit rates are lower than 4% for the first 40 years of operating a farm business and then exit rates gradually increase. Revised estimates of approximately 70-80,000 new farms entering each year are calculated, which are considerably higher numbers than the 30-40,000 new farm entrants participating in the Census of Agriculture. The linked-farm and cohort approaches are used to provide updated estimates for farm entry and exit using new Census data and to make comparisons with previous years. To our knowledge, this is the first study to provide revised estimates for new farm entrants into U.S. agriculture.

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