Production, income and resource changes from farm consolidation

Hoffmann, Randall
Heady, Earl
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The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of farm consolidation on agricultural adjustment. The specific objectives of the study were to: (1) determine changes in resource use and combination brought about by the consolidation process, (2) analyze the effect of farm consolidation on agricultural output, (3) examine the effect of farm consolidation on the income expectations of operators whose farms were involved in consolidation, (4) analyze the economic and managerial characteristics of persons who leave farms and of operators who take over their land, (5) determine the characteristics of land and other physical resources involved in consolidation, (6) determine the income levels that would induce farm operators to accept non-farm employment and (7) examine farm operators' knowledge of government employment facilities and services.

Four counties in southwest Iowa-Fremont, Mills, Montgomery and Page-were selected as the survey area for this study. The study includes the complete population of farm consolidations within the four-county survey area. All consolidations took place following the 1956 crop year and were in effect during the 1957 crop year.

A total of 214 farm units were involved in the consolidations analyzed in this study. Ninety-nine farm units were absorbed by 115 other farm units. (Those farm units absorbed will be referred to as merged units; those 115 units which annexed them will be referred to as adding or base units.) After consolidation, the status of the 99 former operators was as follows: 23 had accepted nonfarm jobs outside of Iowa, 22 had shifted to nonfarm employment within Iowa, 10 had moved to farms of similar or smaller size, 19 had moved to larger farms, 20 had retired and 5 were deceased. Fifty of the adding operators owned more than half of the base farm unit, while the other 65 adding operators rented more than half of the base farm unit.