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Abstract

The industrialization of agriculture refers to the continued consolidation of farms and to the growing use of production and marketing contracts and vertical integration among input suppliers, lenders, agricultural producers, processors, and distributors of food and fiber products, domestically and globally. Industrialization is strongly affecting the structure and performance of farms and agribusiness firms; the distribution of risk, returns, and the ownership and control of resources in the food and fiber system; locations of production; competitiveness in international markets; the effectiveness of agricultural policy; business activity, income, family welfare and employment in rural communities; and environmental quality and control. Research is urgently needed to measure these effects, understand the complex underlying factors, and evaluate policy alternatives that influence and are influenced by the industrialization of agriculture.

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