The Economic Well-Being of Farmers As An On-going National Public Policy Issue

Aggregate farm income is the standard measure of farm household economic well-being. In Canada farm groups have used a multi-year decline in one measure of farm income - realized net income, to press for increased financial transfers. In the first part of the paper income data is reviewed to assess the magnitude of the decline and whether Canadian farmers are worse of than their U.S. counterparts. In the second part of the paper conceptual issues with farm income as the primary measure of economic well-being are presented and the conclusion is drawn that any measure of farm income is a flawed indicator of actual well-being even though it may be statistically sound, because the underlying assumptions that make farm income maximization the main objective of farm households are no longer tenable.

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Agricultural Economics Staff Paper
# 468

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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