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Abstract

Public debate about the relationships among research, technology, and farm size is often fueled by a particular hypothesis, that public sector research supports the development of scale-biased technologies that lead to fewer and larger farms. The evidence suggests that it is the private sector that dominated the development of concentrated on biological innovations, more likely to be scale neutral. Moreover, powerful, macroeconomic and social forces, not simply the availability of new technologies, have driven change in the number and size distribution of American farms. The complexity of the determinants of farm structure make it unlikely that public research can guarantee the development of technologies that, by themselves, result in the preservation of small farms.

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