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Abstract

The U.S. farm sector experienced the worst financial stress during the 1980's since the 1930's. Families leaving agriculture during the decade received considerable national attention, but the numbers were small by historical standards. When adjustments are made in farm numbers because of the 1974 change in the definition of a farm, the average annual decrease in farm numbers for 1980-90 was almost the same as that for 1970-80. This report places the farm financial stress and farm exits in the 1980's into context using a variety of information. The effects of short-term economic events on farm exits, net changes in farm numbers, longrun trends in farm numbers, and public sector support for the farm sector are examined.

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