The rise and fall of new commodities, production technologies, and shifting government policies have had dramatic effects on the lives of generations of farm families in the rural South. This book examines both the impact of such changes on individuals and families and the interrelationship between agricultural change and community change. The contributors look at how and why the mix of farms--small, medium, large, and part-time--has been transformed and consider the differing needs of these types of farm operations, the special problems of minority farmers, the farming strategies that are most resilient to external shocks, and the interdependence of rural communities and the region's farmers. They also review the main external sources of change, including government fiscal and monetary policies that shape interest rates and govern export possibilities. The book contributes to our understanding of the kinds of communities and quality of life that will be experienced by the next generation of southern farmers.
Preface -- The Shifting Role of Agriculture in the Rural South -- Quality of Life on the Farm -- Social Consequences of the Economic Crisis in Agriculture -- Dilemmas Facing Minority Farm Operators in an Agricultural Crisis -- After Structural Change: Are Part-time or Full-time Farmers Better Off? -- Quality of Life Perceptions and Farm Structure -- The Decline of Agriculture as a Livelihood -- Trends and Dimensions in U.S. Agricultural Structure -- The "Disappearing Middle" and Other Myths of the Changing Structure of Agriculture -- Entry into Farming: Implications of a Dual Agricultural Structure -- Determinants of Poverty Among Farm Operators in North Carolina -- Factors in the Success and Survival of Smallholders: A North Carolina Case Study -- Empirical Analysis of Farm Labor and Agricultural Structure Relationships -- Community Changes Stemming from the Agricultural Crisis -- Agricultural and Rural Community Interdependencies -- An Assessment of Community Forces and Agricultural Change -- The Changing Structure of Farmland Ownership in the South -- The Impact of Outside Forces -- Macroeconomic Policy and the Structure of Agriculture -- Technological Diffusion: Effects on Productivity, Structure, Firms, and Markets -- The Need to Rethink Agricultural Policy in General and to Perform Some Radical Surgery on Commodity Programs in Particular -- Conclusion: The Future of Farming in the South