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Farm production and sales are becoming more concentrated; 125,000 farms accounted for half of all farms sales in 1974, which required 205,000 farms a decade before. The average age of farm operators steadily increased from 48.7 years in 1945 to 51.7 years in 1974, as fewer younger farmers entered farming than older operators retired or sold out. Changes in the relationship between the farm and marketing sectors forced farmers to consider forward contracting and farmer-to-consumer direct marketing. About $2 billion were disbursed in the 1978 farm programs, but most of the benefits went to the larger farms.


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