• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 Summary
 Inventory of existing small farm...
 Additional work needed
 A policy framework
 Suggestions for action
 References
 Appendix






Title: Research, extension, and higher education for small farms
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 Material Information
Title: Research, extension, and higher education for small farms
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Ad Hoc Committee on Small Farms, Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences
Publisher: Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences
Place of Publication: Washington, D. C.
Publication Date: December, 1979
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082745
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 6001901

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Preface
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
    List of Tables
        Page iv
    Summary
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    Inventory of existing small farm work in research, extension, and higher education
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Additional work needed
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    A policy framework
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    Suggestions for action
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    References
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Appendix
        Page 50
        Page 51
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PREFACE


The 1978 Annual Report of the Joint Council on Food and Agricultural

Sciences identified "small farms" as an area for special consideration

and coordination efforts by the Council in 1979. At the April 1979

meeting of the Joint Council, members voted to establish an "Ad Hoc

Committee on Small Farms" that would provide the following:

An inventory of existing work and objectives of that work.

-- An identification of work needed but not underway.

A specification of coordination needs.

On July 11, 1979 Cochairmen M. Rupert Cutler and John S. Robins

appointed the following persons to serve on the Ad Hoc Camittee:

-- Allan S. Johnson, Assistant to the Administrator, Economics,
Statistics, and Cooperatives Service, Chairman

-- R. J. Hildreth, Managing Director, Farm Foundation

C. A. Williams, Executive Vice President, Alabama A&M University

Marvin E. Konyha and J. C. Torio of the Science and Education

Administration were assigned to provide staff assistance to the Camnittee.

During the past few years there have been several efforts to inventory

and identify gaps in existing research and extension activities. The

Committee believed that the best approach, given time constraints, would

be to summarize the results of these efforts and develop for consideration

by the Joint Council an overall policy framework for small farm activity,

suggestions on priorities and resource levels, and nore permanent planning

and coordinating mechanisms.









The report is submitted with the hope that it will stimulate dis-

cussion by the Joint Council and from this discussion a consensus

within the agriculture science community will emerge, not on the specific

details of a small farm program but on the rationale for, the relative

size and scope of, and the mechanism for developing the details of such

a program.

Copies of this report are available from; Executive Secretary,

Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences, USDA, Room 351-A,

Administration Bldg., 14th & Independence SW, Washington, D.C. 20250.









WABIE OF CONTENTS

'age

PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES ................... iv
SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . v

INVENTORY OF EXISTING SMALL FARM WORK IN RESEARCH, EXTENSION
AND HIGHER EDUCATION ..................... 1

Background .......................... 1

USDA/Land-Grant Small Farm Activities . . . . . . 2

Other Small Farm Activities . . . . . . . 14

Planning Efforts to Meet the Needs of Small-Scale Farmers . 17

Estimate of Current Resources Directed to Small Farms . .. 20

ADDITIONAL WORK NEEDED ................... 24

Research ........................... 24

Extension .......................... 31

Higher Education ....................... 35

A POLICY FRAMEWORK ....................... 36

Rationale for'Public Expenditure for Small Farm Activities . 36

What Not to Expect from a Small Farm Program .. . . . 38

Clinentele of the Small Farm Program . . . . . . 39

Determining Success ..................... 41

Need for Other Small Farm Assistance . . . . . ... 42

SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION ................... .. 43

Coordination ........................ 43

Priorities and Resource Levels . . . . . . ... 43

Data on Small Farm Activity . . . . . . . .. 46

REFERENCES ................. ... ...... . 48












LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES




Table

1 Distribution of SEA Inhouse Research by Size of
Farms or Industrial Fis . . . . . .

2 Estimate of FY 1980 USDA/Land-Grant Institutions
Resources Directed to Small Farms . . . .

Al Total Publicly Funded Agricultural Research Effort
Compared with Research Activity Directly Belated
to Small Farms . ..............

A2 Small Farm Research Projects in Land-Grant
Institutions by Area of Emphasis, 1977 . .

Figure

1 Limited Resource Farmer Classification System . .


,Page





SUMMARY


1. The current USDA definition of small farm is based on the following

factors:

-- Family net income from all sources (farm and nonfarm) is below

the median nonmetropolitan income of the state.

-- The family is dependent on farming for a significant, though

not necessarily a majority, of their income.

Family members provide most of the labor and management.

This is a useful definition for the purposes of identifying those small-

scale farm facilities most in need of assistance. There are an estimated

1 to 1.3 million farms that fall within the context of this definition

(pp. 39-41). However, there are an estimated 700,000 small-scale farmers

(sales less than $20,000) with net family income above the median non-

metropolitan income. These farms should also be viewed as users of

information and technology that is developed by the agricultural science

and education system for small-scale farmers.

2. The actual level of USDA and land-grant institutions' (LGI's) small

farm effort is not known with any great degree of accuracy. Summarized

from various sources, resources by performing institution and major type

of activity for FY 1980 are estimated to be as follows (pp. 21-23):

SEA Units and LGI's ($ mil.)

Total SEA Total USDA
AR CR E & LGI's ESCS & LGI's

Technology
oriented 3.0 0.7 32.5 36.2 36.2

Nontechnology
oriented -- 1.1 19.5 20.6 0.3 20.9

Total 3.0 1.8 52.0 56.8 0.3 57.1






No estimate is made of higher education resources devoted to small farms.

3. Research gaps that have been identified can be categorized as follows:

Characteristics of small farms

-- Management of resources and product marketing

mmmnunity infrastructure

-- Technology appropriate for small farms

Quality of life for small-scale farm families

-- Policy

Specific research issues are identified for each of these categories

(pp. 24-31).

4. Extension needs more systematic evaluation data on both the regular

Extension program as it relates to small farms and the special pilot

small farm projects. Additional data on small-scale fanrer clientele

are also needed (pp. 31-35).

5. The rationale for assisting small-scale farmers is based on the follow-

ing four principles:

-- All farmers, regardless of farm size, should be in a position to

benefit from the agricultural science and education system; because

of varying needs and types of farming, no single method of assist-

ance will suffice--programs must meet the unique needs of small-

scale as well as larger-scale farmers.

-- Simple humanity requires attention be given to those whose needs

are greatest, and human dignity dictates that effort be expended

to assist low income small-scale farmers to raise their income,

from either farm or nonfarm earned income, when it is at all

possible for them to do so.






-- An agricultural system that permits small farms provides the

opportunity for persons to choose small-scale farming or to

combine farming with off-farm employment as a life style.

-- Assistance to small-scale farmers will promote better management

and more effective use of a significant body of the Nation's

natural resources (pp. 36-37).

6. Small farm research, extension, and teaching should not be undertaken

-- to significantly affect the food supply, or

-- for purposes of altering the number of farms producing most of

this Nation's food and fiber (p. 38)

7. Success of a small farm effort should be measured by

-- The number of small-scale farm families whose real earned farm and

nonfarm income increases, with greater emphases given to raising

all farm families above the poverty level.

Number of small-scale farmers who perceive that their quality of

life has improved.

-- Reduction is underemployed rural human resources.

A long-term measure is success or goal, given the above rationale of a

small farm program, might be expressed as follows: There are few in

society who want to farm that are prohibited from earning at least a

part of their income from farming as a result of artificial barriers

to entry such as a lack of available technology or access to technical

advice, and there are few, if any, producers of agricultural products

whose earned farm and ncnfarm income is below their aspiration, given

their propensity to work (ideally this would be equal to or greater

than the median nonmetropolitan income) (pp. 41-42).


vii






8. Suggestions for action

(a) Coordination (p. 43)

A small farm component of both the national and regional research,

extension and higher education planning committees should be

established for three years to serve as a coordinating unit.

(b) Research (pp. 43-44)

Research should be increased by $10 million with $7 million

devoted to nontechnology research and about $3 million for

technology research. The nontechnology research should focus on

identification of the characteristics of small farms and small-

scale farm families along with work identified under the categories

"Cammunity Infrastructure" and "Quality of Life." Additional

increases in technology research beyond those recommended should

not be made until the results of SEA-AR's conference on small

farm technology are available.

(c) Extension (pp. 44-45)

There are currently $5 million in Extension funds devoted to the

special pilot projects. It is recommended that the program be

increased to $10 million and, coupled with the increased research,

a formal evaluation of the program be undertaken over the next

three years.

(d) Data on small farm activity (pp. 46-47)

Special category codes should be added to the Current Research

Information System (CRIS) classification scheme to permit identifi-

cation of the relationship of research to farm size. The proposed

small farm subcommittee of the national and regional extension

planning committees should devote immediate attention to


viii









establishing a method to obtain and periodically update

resource data on extension small farm efforts.








INVENTORY OF EXISTING SMALL FARM WORK IN I.SEARC.
EXTENSION, AND HIGHER EDUCATION I/

Background

The agricultural extension, research, and higher education system

of USDA and the land-grant institutions has, over the years, recognized

small farm issues in several ways. The focus has included workshops

sponsored by the Southern Extension Farm Management Conmittee, close

cooperation with the small farm demonstration programs sponsored by the

Tennessee Valley Authority, and small farm seminars and special programs

at both the 1890 and 1862 land-grant institutions and Tuskegee.

Many states have a large number of small-scale farmers who benefit

from general purpose research and extension programs. Efforts are

underway to increase the utility of these general programs to small-

scale farmers. At the same time, the agricultural research, extension,

and higher education system is beginning to develop a more specific body

of knowledge and a methodology for focusing this knowledge on the

technological needs of small-scale farmers so that they may enhance

their income with less reliance on traditional income maintenance

programs. The States have exhibited a willingness to address this at the

local level. The Federal input traditionally has been in the form of a


T/ his section draws heavily from: (1) "The Science and Education
Administration's Research and Extension Programs for Small Farms,"
a Report Prepared for the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural
Development, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations,
U.S. House of Representatives, SEA, USDA (March 1, 1979); and
(2) Jerry G. West, "Agricultural Economics Research and Extension
Needs of Small-Scale, Limited Resource Farmers," Southern Journal
of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 49-56 (July 1979),







,coordinating role in associating local needs with the national interest.

Goals and Objective

The primary goal of the USDA land-grant institutions' small farm

program is to help small-scale farm operators with limited resources

in the following interrelated activities:

1. Develop the technology farm operators and their families need

to carry out their preferred alternatives to increase income

and improve their quality of living.

2. Determine the best ways to transfer technology to small-scale

farmers.

3. Provide direct educational, technical, and organizational

assistance to operators and their families.

4. Help operators and their families identify and clarify goals,

needs, resources, and opportunities.

5. Help operators and their families clarify and assess alternative

ways of using resources to respond to needs and opportunities.

USDA/Land-Grant Small Farm Activities

Extension

The objective of the Extension small farm program is to bring to low-

income farmers information and new technology that will increase

production and income and improve family living. Extension

has emphasized the importance of reaching farmers with less than $10,000

in annual agricultural sales. Seven of 14 Southern States reported

their programs try to reach small-scale farmers not involved in other

Extension activities; some programs emphasize reaching minority farm

operators. In general, these programs are directed at farmers who have






income, farm resources, and educational levels relatively lower than

those of farmers served by other Extension programs. Dairy and beef

herds average less than 30 cows; hog operations less than 20 saws;

field crops per farm less than 50 acres; and vegetable farms average

6 acres in cultivation. Two ways the Extension Service supports and

conducts programs to benefit small-scale and limited resource farmers

and their families are:

1. Contact with small-scale farmers by regular county Extension

staff with regular funding. Depending on the nature of farm-

ing in the various regions, it has been estimated that from

20-to-50 percent of regular county Extension programs in

agriculture and national resources provide same benefit to

small-scale farmers. These small-scale farm families also

participate in regular family living, youth, and community

development programs.

2. Additional staffing for direct contact with small-scale fanrers

with two types of increased staffing:

(a) Special staff added with special funding, such as the

program initiated in fical year 1976 in which special

funds totaling $2 million were appropriated for Extension

Small Farm and Home Garden programs. ($1 million of this

was available for programs at the 1890 institutions).

(b) Special pilot programs which are being carried on in several

states and especially in Missouri, Minnesota, Texas and 12

other southern states. An estimated 5 percent ($5 million)

of all the resources devoted to agriculture and natural

resources programs by Extension is spent on programs designed






especially for small-scale, part-time farmers with limited

resources. Most of these pilot projects employ people

from local communities who are familiar with the local

needs. With training and supervision by the county agent,

these paraprofessionalss" enroll small-scale farm families

and help them on a regular schedule with management and

other needs. The "paraprofessional" makes a one-on-one

contact by making on-farm family visits. Each "para-

professional" works with 25 to 35 families.

o Highlights and Special Efforts

Results of the Extension special project approach with small-scale

farmers have been documented as follows:

Texas Net farm income increased an average of 48 percent from

1970 to 1974 for small-scale farmers enrolled in the Texas program

(in current dollars). Of equal importance was a substantial in-

crease in the number of participants who also took advantage of

other government and Extension programs. For example, there was a

72 percent increase in the number of farmers contacting their

Extension office for information; 136 percent increase in the

number attending tours, meetings, and demonstrations; a 21 percent

increase in the use of the Soil Conservation Service, and a 19

percent increase in the use of the Farmers Hcme Administration.

Texas has now expanded this program to 15 counties. The Texas

program gives perference to farmers with gross agricultural sales

under $5,000 per year.

Missouri The benefit-cost ratio of the Missouri Small Farm

Family Program was estimated at about 3.5 to 1. An evaluation

4










involving 61 participants and 45 nonparticipants below 60 years

of age and with less than $10,000 annual sales after 4 years of

operation showed that: (1) over two-thirds of the participants had

realized increased farm sales (in current dollars); (2) 60 percent

used credit as compared to only 35 percent of the nonparticipants

surveyed; and (3) the number of participants indicating Extension

as an important source of information increased. Missouri's 1862

and 1890 land-grant institutions both participate in the Missouri

Small Farm Family Program which now involves 49 program assistants

in 33 counties working with 1,835 small-scale farm families.

Minnesota The results of a pilot Small Farm Project with program

assistants funded by the Governor's Rural Development Council in

1975 was so impressive the State Legislature was persuaded to

provide $75,000 annual funding. The Extension Service is super-

vising five program assistants to work with 150 families in

three counties.

o Study of Fourteen States' Special Efforts:

Small farms are concentrated in the South. According to the 1974

Census of Agriculture, over 50 percent of the Nation's farms with

annual sales of less than $5,000 and 47 percent of those with sales

of $5,000 $9,000, are located within the Southern States. In their

regular Extension work, 10 of the 13 states have specific objectives

concerning small farms. Several states also conduct special small

farms programs.










Data were collected on 4,543 farmers who participated in 23 small

farm programs in the 13 Southern States and Missouri in 1977-78. 2/

A total of 178 paraprofessionalss" were working with small-scale farm

operators in 130 counties and 54 professional agents were working pri-

marily with small-scale farmers in 66 counties. Farms of the partici-

pants average 155 acres, with 50 percent having under 60 acres.

Outcomes from working with these 4,543 small-scale farmers included:

1. Twelve percent of the farmers have increased annual sales nore

than $2,000 since they began in the program; an increase of

between $1,000 and $2,000 is estimated for 29 percent; 30

percent gained under $1,000; while 25 percent appeared to

have no gain in sales.

2. Sixty-five percent of farms improved production practices.

Changes in production practices, management, and sales are

positively affected by the extent of participation in the

program as measured by frequency of contact, number and types

of assistance received, and participation in meetings, tours,

and demonstrations.


2/ See: David Orden and Patricia Kicbus Edwards, "Preliminary Evalua-
tion of Small Farm Programs in the Southern United States," pre-
sented at the Southern Small Farm Management Workshop, Nashville,
Tennessee (October 25, 1978);

David Orden and Dennis K. Smith, "Small Farm Program; Implications
From a Study in Virginia," Research Division Bulletin 135, VPI & SU
(October 1978);

David Orden and Steven T. Bucoola, "An Evaluation of Southern Co-
operative Extension Programs Aimed at Small Farmers," Presented at
AAEA annual meeting, Pullman, Washington (July 30 August 1, 1979).





Research

Research generally has been directed toward the technological needs of

American agriculture on the basis of problem areas under the implicit

concept that small-scale farmers have many of the same technological

needs as large farmers. The application of such technology has en-

abled same small-scale farmers to became large.

The increased heterogeneity in agriculture with respect to commod-

ities produced, market availability, resource restraints, and size of

farm unit has also impacted on the research agenda. A number of States

now have research projects specifically designed to deal with small farms.

Much of the research on small farms has been directed toward under-

standing the diversity of this group and structuring ways of communicat-

ing and servicing the various types of small farms. More recently, pro-

grams have recognized that small-scale farmers have a need for technology

and techniques designed more specifically for them. The technical aspect

includes techniques adapted to small farm usage, the management tech-

niques to provide for a feasible combination of farm enterprises, funding

techniques to provide access to financing by those who may be regarded

as high risk and high cost credit clients, and new marketing techniques.

o Current Programs:

A survey of land-grant universities in 1977 indicated 30 or more

States had one or more research projects that dealt specifically

with small farm issues. -/ An examination of individual project

CRIS (Current Research Information System) reports in late 1978


/ Jerry G. West, op. cit.; and Jerry G. West, "Issues in Research and
Education Related to Small Farms," SEA, USDA, Washington, D.C.
(mimeo) (1979).










identified 67 projects with an estimated 27 scientist years

oriented specifically to small farms. All CRIS forms in any way

identifying small farms as subject of inquiry were examined and

only those judged to be of direct relevance to small farms were

included. About 75 percent of these research projects were social

science oriented while the remaining 25 percent were technology

oriented (see Appendix Tables 1 and 2). These 67 projects repre-

sented less than one-half of one percent of all State Agricultural

Experiment Station research projects.

Another 22 projects were marginal in the sense that some aspect

of the project had direct application to small farms or the entire

research effort was deemed to have potential implications for

small farm. These projects are in addition to most of the research

which is not specific to size of farm and which can benefit farms

of all sizes. 4/

Nearly half of the research projects specifically oriented to small

farms are being conducted in the 1890 Institutions and Tuskegee. These

universities, with their traditional concern for the poor, the alien-

ated, and the disadvantaged, have emphasized the problems of the large

proportion of farm operators living on small farms.

SEA-AR scientists have develop many new fruit and vegetable

varieties and production practices which have helped small-scale


4/ Research not specific to size of farm would not be size neutral if
application of the results required large capital investment.





producers and home gardeners to supply their own needs and local

markets. Research in mechanization and harvest aids have contrib-

uted to greater independence and productivity of small-scale fruit

growers. Better breeding stock, improved forage varieties, and

insect and disease control have benefited small-scale livestock

producers. Engineering research on soil drainage using plowed-in

perforated plastic pipe, agricultural equipment to aid harvesting,

and pesticide applicators has addressed problems common to small

and large farms. Marketing and processing studies and demonstra-

tions have sustained market outlets for small-scale farmers by

pooling output of many small-scale farmers into auction markets

and assembly market organizations.

Social sciences research in the USDA/land-grant system has

concentrated on gaining a better understanding of the complex

nature of small farms and exploring opportunities to improve the

well-being of small-scale farm families. Completed research pro-

vides information for assessing the characteristics of small farms

and their resources; identifies same of the kinds of economic

adjustment and marketing activities which would increase incomes

on small farms; and provides same insights into the impact of

technology on small farms. Such findings provide the base from

which expanded efforts can be initiated.

SEA-AR has developed a bibliography for small-scale and organic

farmers that lists 1400 reports by AR scientists, most of them

published since 1950. / The report covers soil tillage, cropping


J W. Schwartz, A Bibliography for Small and Organic Farmers: 1920
to 1978, SEA-AR, USDA, Washington, D.C. (1978).






practices, nutrients, irrigation, and uses of organic matter.

These are plans for a similar bibliography for crop production,

plant sciences, and entomology.

The distribution of SEA inhouse research categorized according

to size of farms or agribusiness firms revealed that 84 percent of

the research effort is not size-specific, six percent is directed

specifically to small-scale operators, and approximately 10 percent

is geared specifically to larger farms and firms. The percentage

estimates by the six major program areas are shown in Table 1.

Increasing evidence that small-scale farmers have specific

technological needs resulted in SEA-AR's FY 79 budget request on

production and marketing systems for small-scale farming. The

Congress appropriated $3 million for a small farms research program.

Implementation of this program includes the development of inte-

grated management systems for small cow-calf and pasture-fed steer

operations and small-scale sheep and goat production on hill lands.

Soil and animal production scientists are working together to select

adapted forage species of grasses and legumes to improve the nutri-

tional status of livestock and provide high quality pastures over

extended seasons, particularly for class V and VI lands. Research

on small-scale methods for processing and distributing animal pro-

ducts to assure quality and safety are also under study.

Crop research centers on the development of improved systems

for production, protection, and utilization of vegetables and small

fruits grown on small farms and in home gardens. The work will

include development of improved nutritional quality and ripening

characteristics suitable to "U-Pick" operations. home gardens






Table 1

Distribution of SEA Inhouse Research by
Size of Farms or Industrial Firms

Percentage of Effort -

Not
SSize- Small Large d/
Specific Scale Scale -

Marketing and Post Harvest
Technology 71 19 10

Crop Production 88 7 5

Crop Protection 88 1 12

Animal Production and Protection 77 7 16

Natural Resources and Environment 85 6 9

Human Nutrition and Food Safety e/ 100 0 0

Averages 84 6 10

SEstimates were made by the coordinators of SEA-AR National Program

Staff for each of the 67 National Research Programs and their values

were average for the program areas shown.

Work that is not directed at any particular size of farms.

SWork directed specifically or exclusively at small farms (less than

$20,000 gross farm income) or firms (judged to be "small, scattered

producers or agribusiness units that cannot support major research

facilities").

SWork that would help only, or mostly, large-scale farm operators.

e/ The eight National Research Programs related to human nutrition, health

and safety, and consumer services were presumed to be not size specific

for both producers and processors.








roadside markets, or other fresh market outlets. Pest management

systems that put major emphasis on biological control technologies

will be incorporated into total farm systems.

Engineering research is aimed at providing labor-reducing equip-

nent small-scale farmers can afford, many times taking advantage of

"on-the-farm built" or modified machines. Soil, water, and natural

resource problems specific to small-scale agriculture are studied

including management under conditions of fertility and water stress.

Special emphasis is made for hill lands such as those in Appalachia-

type situations.

Regional Centers for Rural Development

The Regional Centers for Rural Development at Cornell, Iowa State,

Mississippi State, and Oregon State are directing more attention to

rural development research and extension. Each of the Centers is in

same way attempting to determine what is known about small farms in

the regions, identifying relevant work underway, and initiating

additional efforts. 6/

A task force on small farm research priorities in the north

central region consists of representatives from each state and

includes several scientific disciplines. The task force, with input

from small-scale farmers and people in the farm services business,



SFor example, see: Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development,
"Small Farm Activity in the Northeast: A Directory of Land Grant
University Personnel by Discipline and Subject Area," Cornell
University, Ithaca, New York (June 1979).








identified and prioritized a large number of research topics, 2/
Initial thrusts are focusing on the relationships between farm size

and community viability.

The Northeast Center is working with a committee of Experiment

Station, Extension, SEA, and ESCS representatives to develop a

master program of agricultural systems for small farms in the north-

east. The aim is to provide an educational/technical package

designed for location-specific small farm operations. Two subourm-

mittees were appointed in July 1979 to develop integrated regional

research and extension programs, one in the horticultural area and

the other dealing with dairy-livestock-forage production systems.

The Southern Center has issued three publications relating to small

farms. The first was an attempt to develop a better understanding of

the small farm, its problems, and efforts to improve its situation. 8

A second publication was an annotated bibliography on the role of
9/
communication and attitudes relating to small farms, and the third

was a companion synthesis report of this research material. 0/


SNorth Central Regional Center for Rural Development, "Small Farms
Research Priorities in the North Central Region," Iowa State
University, Ames, Iowa (February 1979).

Southern Rural Development Center, "Small Farms," Rural Development
Research and Education, Vol. 1, No. 4, Mississippi State, Miss.
(Summer, 1977).

SSouthern Rural Development Center, Small Farm Operations: The
Role of Communication and Attitudes in Small Farm Programs, SRDC
Bibliography Series No. 4, Mississippi State, Miss. (Septenber 1977).

10 Southern Rural Development Center, The Role of Ccmmunication and
Attitudes in Small Farm Programs, SRDC Synthesis Series No. 4
Mississippi State, Miss. (August 1978).









The Western Center sponsored an effort to assess the resources,

needs, and goals of families on small farms. The States of Oregon,

Hawaii, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico are participating in

surveys to determine needs by type of small farms and the implica-

tions of these needs for educational or research strategies to

better address the small farm problems.

U.S. Forest Service

With increasing pressures for reduced timber harvesting on

multiple-use public forest lands, there is a need for increased

timber production from the 300 million acres of forests controlled

by small-scale non-industrial private owners. The Forest Service

research and educational activities are increasingly geared to
,.
raising the productivity of these small woodlot owners.

Plans for implementation of the Renewable Resources Extension Act

(P.L. 95-306), to be conducted jointly with the Cooperative Extension

Services, call for increased research and educational programs for

the small woodlot owner in managing these resources more efficiently.

Other Small Farm Activities

There are many other organizations and agencies conducting various

types of projects and programs for small-scale farmers in addition to

those of the USDA/land-grant system. A few examples are cited here to

indicate the wide variety of these activities.

California's Small Farm Viability Project

This project, which was jointly sponsored by four State departments,

sought to determine what the State could and should do to make the








small farm more viable as a source of livelihood for rural people. ii/

The central activity of the project was a series of task forces com-

prised of over 70 qualified persons from farming, banking, government

agencies, the academic ocamunity, the California Cooperative Extension

Service, community organizations, the legislature, labor and other

fields. The findings of the various task forces have been compiled

in a final report, which attempts to survey comprehensively certain

problems of small farm agriculture in California. 2/

It is worth noting that the Small Farm Viability Project has

ended up unexpectedly optimistic about the essential viability of

small farms when they are well structured and managed, and when

public policy at least gives them a fair shake vis-a-vis their larger

competitors.

Rural Venture

This project represents a major non-agribusiness corporation's

effort to serve small farmers through the development of computer

assisted small farm management packages.

The Control Data Corporation (CDC) is working with the University

of Minnesota to develop and field test the necessary data bases for

various small farm enterprise combinations in the upper midwest region.


i-/ William E. Myers, "Comments on Small Farm Research: California's
Small Farm Viability Project," in U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Small Farm Issues: Proceedings of the ESCS Small-Farm Workshop,
May 1978, ESCS-60, Washington, D.C. (July 1979).

/The Family Farm in California: Report of the Small Farm Viability
Project, State CETA Office, 800 Capitol Mall, MIC 77, Sacramento,
California (November 1977).





TVA Developing Small Farm Agriculture

The Tennessee Valley Authority has sponsored several assistance

projects to small farms, including the program "Developing Small

Farm Agriculture." This program, sponsored jointly by TVA and the

Cooperative Extension Service in the seven Tennessee Valley states,

places primary emphasis on more productive use of farm family labor

in various livestock or horticultural enterprises.

This joint TVA-Extension program has piloted the use of small

farm agricultural aides for several years. In general, TVA pro-

vides limited financial assistance to participants for obtaining

fertilizer, seeds, and plants, or in developing marketing outlets.

Extension provides the educational assistance through the program

aides. In FY 1978, there were 526 participating small-scale farmers

in the program. Plans are being made for significantly expanding

this program if future resources are available.

Allegheny Highlands

This nine-county project, centered in Elkins, West Virginia, was

initiated in 1970 by the Rockefeller Foundation and West Virginia

University as a two-county demonstration of direct assistance to small-

scale farmers. 1/ As Rockefeller funding phased out, the University

of West Virginia assumed full responsibility for the demonstration.

The project works with about 60 small-scale farmer "cooperators"

who are provided a package of management, agronomy, animal science,

and animal health educational materials.


13/ Barton S. Baker, Marvin R. Fausett, Paul E. Lewis, and E. Keith
Inskeep, "Progress Report on the Allegheny Highlands Project:
Agriculture, January-December 1978," College of Agriculture and
Forestry, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia,








For half of the cooperators, the assistance is provided through

regular Cooperative Extension Service local offices, which, in turn.

receive research and training backup from a Staff of scientists and

assistants in these four fields of science. The other half of the

cooperators receive assistance directly from the project's staff.

Preliminary comparison indicates that small-scale farmers benefit

equally well from either approach.

Planning Efforts to Meet the Needs of Small-Scale Farmers

Introduction

In addition to the activities described, deliberations continue

in Congress, the Department of Agriculture, the land-grant universi-

ties, and various public and private institutions over the appropriate

response to the needs of small-scale farmers. Three of these stand

out as being of particular significance. One was the series of small

farm conferences held in 1978 through the joint efforts of the USDA,

Community Services Administration (CSA), and ACTION. The second is

the Small Farm Project of the National Rural Center, and the third

was an ESCS-sponsored small farm workshop. It is likely that the

outcomes of all these activities will influence future programs

directed toward small farms.

Small Farm Conferences

Five regional small farm conferences were cosponsored by USDA,

the Comunity Services Administration, and ACTION during 1978. 4/


14/ Ovid Day, Theron Bell, and Marjorie Berninger, "Begional Small
Farms Conferences: National Summary, "USDA, CSA, ACTION,
Washington, D.C. (December 1978).






The purposes of the conferences were to: (1) provide a national

voice for small-scale, limited-resource farmers; (2) learn of pro-

blems that are most important to them; (3) provide the small-scale

farmer more direct access to Federal programs; and (4) identify

needed program improvements. Approximately eight small-scale farmer

delegates were selected by state and local organizations to repre-

sent the small-scale farmers in each state--a total of about 400

small-scale farm operators and spouses.

Many of the concerns expressed by small-scale farmers were those

common to all farmers. They included: low prices for farm products,

increases in prices of inputs, and the problems for farmers posed

by inflation. Some of the problems identified were those which pri-

marily affect larger farm such as inheritance tax laws, restrictions

on irrigation acreage under the Reclamation Act, and the effects of

minimum wage laws and the Food Stamp Program on the cost and avail-

ability of hired labor.

Other concerns were more unique to small farm operations. They

were lack of information about government services and programs,

need for managerial assistance, inability to compete for enough

land to provide a viable full-time farm operation, and the lack of

information on technology appropriate for small farms.

As a follow-up to the conferences, the Rural Development Committee

in each state was asked to establish a Small Farm Task Force to

formulate programs at the state level. While land-grant university

research and extension personnel were not directly involved in the

small farm conferences, they are represented on the State Rural





Development Committees and are generally involved in helping to

formulate responses to the needs expressed and in planning for

future activities.

The National Rural Center Small Farms Project

The National Rural Center (NRC) is a private, non-profit cor-

poration established to "develop policy alternatives and to provide

information which can help rural people improve the quality of life

in their communities." Small farm issues were selected by NRC as a

major policy development effort in the belief that small-scale

farming can provide an option for earning income and that many

people want to exercise that option.

A project was developed by NRC to enhance the level of know-

ledge about problems facing small-scale farm families and to pro-

vide information which would be helpful to policy makers in

deciding what approaches government ought to take toward helping

families living on small farms.

Although still in process, this NRC project has helped to (1)

clarify problems facing small-scale farmers, (2) identify research

needs which have not been adequately addressed, and (3) suggest

national program changes and policy initiatives which are supported

by existing research and past experience to enhance small farm

viability. 15/


1/ National Rural Center, Toward a Federal Small Farms Policy,
Phase I: Barriers to Increasing On-Farm Income, NRC Report
No. 9, Washington, D.C. (Noveber 17, 1978); and J. Patrick
Madden and Heather Tischbein, "Toward an Agenda for Small
Farm Research a Preliminary Report," presented to AAEA
annual meeting, Pullman, Washington (July 30 August 1, 1979).
The committee benefited greatly from early draft papers of
Phase II of the NRC small farms project.






ESCS Small Farm Workshop

In light of the increased attention being given to small farm

problems, the ESCS sponsored a research workshop May 3-4, 1978. 6/
Workshop participants discussed issues, research, and information

needs concerning small-scale farmers and their families. In back-

ground papers, panel presentations, and working group discussion

the participants stressed the diversity of the small farm population

and, for the most part, agreed that the appropriate point of reference

for research is the small-scale farm family rather than simply the

farm.

This conference identified three general categories of research

needs. The first deals with the small farm as an agricultural pro-

duction unit and one source of family income. The second category

considers the small-scale farmer and his family as members of rural

society who depend largely on nonfarm income for family living and

whose presence may affect the availability of and demands for goods

and services in the community. The third area recognizes the impact

of agricultural and rural development policies and programs on small-

scale farmers and their families.

Estimate of Current Resources Directed to Small Farms

There are no accounting or reporting procedures in the USDA/land-

grant institution system for clearly identifying resources directed

to small farms research and Extension activities. In some instances,

the Congress has earmarked funds for specific small farm efforts. On


16_/
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Small-Farm Issues: Proceedings
of the ESCS Small-Farm Workshop, May 1978, ESCS-60, Economics,
Statistics, and Cooperatives Service, Washington, D.C. (July 1979).







other occasions, the agencies or universities have channeled non-

earmarked funds into specific small farm projects.

The following estimates (Table 2) of current small farms program

resources represent a ombinatian of: (1) Congressionally earmarked

funds; (2) an extensive assessment of land-grant university experiment

station research project descriptions; (3) fairly accurate estimates

of ESCS small farm research activity and Extension resources devoted

to intensive work with small-scale farmers; and (4) a "best guess"

estimate of regular Extension work that directly benefits small-

scale farmers.

The estimates of resources are further divided into those that

are technology related and nontechnology related.

It is estimated that over $57 million are now devoted to small

farms work by the USDA/land-grant institutions system. Some $5.1

million supports small farms research; the remaining $52 million

are utilized for small farms Extension work.

Research

In FY 1979 the Congress appropriated $3 million to SEA-AR for

specific small farms research. These funds are directed to

technology related research in the areas of crop and animal pro-

ductivity and protection.

A 1978 analysis of FY 1977 Experiment Station projects identified

67 projects, totaling $1.6 million, that were specifically concerned

with small farms (see Appendix Tables 1 and 2). Approximately 40

percent of these resources were directed to technology oriented

research; nearly half of the projects are being conducted in the








1890 institutions. It is estimated that FY 1980 expenditures on

small farms projects will be $1.8 million.

ESCS will devote $0.3 million to nontechnology oriented small

farms research in FY 1980. The thrust of this work will be to

develop an improved small farms data base and typology studies to

more clearly define and identify the small-scale farmer population.

Extension

Extension has only $2 million Federal funds earmarked for small

farms programs, but the State Extension Services are putting an

estimated $25 million of Smith-lever funds a year into this effort

and a further $25 million of State and local funds. Half of the

$2 million is utilized by the 1890 institutions.

It is estimated that $5 million is now devoted to special efforts

providing intensive, one-on-one assistance to small-scale farmers.

An evaluation of these programs in 14 States had indicated a program

cost per participating small farmer of approximately $500. 1/ At

this level, the intensive projects are reaching an estimated 10,000

small-scale farmers, out of a population of 1.0 to 1.3 million

small farms.

Nearly two-thirds of the Extension resources devoted to small

farms are directed to technology oriented work.



7/ Orden and Buccola, op. cit., pp. 2-3.
















Table 2

Estimate of FY 1980 IBDA/Land-Grant Institution's Resources

Directed to Small Farms

($ Million)


SEA Units and LGI's

Total SEA
AR CR E & LGI's


ESCS


Total USDA
& LGI's


Technology
oriented

Nontechnology
oriented


Total


3.0





3.0


0.7 32.5 36.2


1.1


1.8


19.5


52.0


20.6


56.8


36.2


20.9


57.1


0.3


0.3







ADDITIONAL WORK NEEDED

As noted in the proceeding section, there have been several work-

shops and projects conducted recently for the purpose of identifying

research, educational, and programmatic needs of small-scale fanrers

in the thited States. Although not claimed as a definitive list of

needs, the following categories have been compiled as broadly repre-

sentative of the major small farm issues and needs which have been

articulated or identified.

Research

Characteristics of Small Farms

The report of the ESCS small farm workshop noted that "the most

pressing problem in small farm research is the lack of information

about characteristics and goals of the small farm population." 18/

Population data bases provide information on income, employment, and

characteristics of families and individuals, but they give very

limited information on farming. Agricultural data bases offer de-

tailed information on farms but only limited information on the

characteristics of farm families.

Areas of needed research under this problem area include:

(a) Total available resource base (human, physical, economic).

(b) Types and numbers of small farms.

(c) Total economic contributions of all family members to the

farm and the household.

(d) Consumption and family living expenditure patterns.


1/ U.S. Department of Agriculture, p. cit., p. 2.







(e) Roles and functions of family members including decision-

making, use of household labor, and role switching.

(f) Risk management and the role of risk in small farms.

Management of Resources and Product Marketing

The central issue here is the small-scale farm family's ability

to realize full benefit from all its resources both farm and non-

farm. To what extent are small farms earning less than their potential

due to inadequate farm management and marketing strategies" Are small

farms actually less efficient than medium or larger units? What

production and marketing practices can improve the farm income of

small-scale farm families?

Additional questions include the following:

(a) To what extent can alternative market outlets be developed?

(b) Effects of labor laws and other government regulations on

costs of production and on markets accessible to small farms.

(c) What is the potential for use of forward pricing and contract

marketing on small farms?

(d) What is the relationship between the market system and market

information and the management and marketing strategies

employed by small farms?

(e) What farm management strategies are appropriate for the full-

time small-scale farmers and part-time small-scale farmers?

(f) What capital and investment strategies are needed by small-

scale farmers?

What is essentially called for in the management and marketing

area are subsystems of production and marketing information in at least







four areas: (1) fruit, vegetable, and nut; (2) livestock and poultry;

(3) forage; and (4) ornamental horticulture. These subsystems need

to be area specific for different regions of the county. Also needed

is an overall farm management approach to pull together the various

production and marketing opportunities, including potential enterprise

combinations of the above subsystems, into a framework which includes

off-farm income opportunities of family members.

Community Infrastructure

To what extent do institutions external to the market (credit,

information, service, etc.) serve the needs of small-scale farmers

and what are the factors that may hinder utilization of these insti-

tutions by small-scale operators?

Numerous research and education issues may be cited, including

the following:

(a) What institutional procedures may be developed for obtaining

inputs at lower cost (e.g., cooperative buying, machinery

leasing)?

(b) What is the optimal use of the small-scale farm operator's

time in obtaining and learning to apply new technical

information?

(c) What are the barriers to use of existing technical infor-

mation by small farms?

(d) What is the cost effectiveness of alternative strategies

for delivering technical information to small-scale farmers,

and what are the factors related to the success or failure

Of alternative strategies?






(e) What are the attitudes toward and perceptions of small-scale

farmers by those in private firms and public agencies who

provide services to them?

(f) What are the attitudes of small-scale farmers toward, and

their utilization of, community services?

(g) What are the training needs of agencies, organizations, and

businesses serving small farms?

(h) Are there potentials for alternative institutional arrange-

ments for providing services and resources to small farms?

(i) Are new institutional arrangements needed for providing

credit and capital to farm operators with limited security

and collateral?

Technology Appropriate for Small Farms

Can alternative technologies appropriate machinery, buildings

and equipment, production and marketing systems be developed for use

by small-scale farmers? Are labor intensive technologies available

for small farms where labor is plentiful and potential earnings from

off-farm employment are very limited? Since much basic technology is

already available, 'small farm technology research should be of a

highly applied nature.

Some specific small farm technology related issues are:

(a) Alternative systems of livestock production, handling, and

marketing, including specialty animal and fish products.

(b) Alternative systems of crop production (including specialty

crops), harvesting, handling, and storage, including oppor-

tunities for group efforts.










(c) Energy efficiency and self-sufficiency alternatives for

small farms.

(d) Usefulness of non-traditional products in production (e.g.,

liquid lime, soil conditioners, algae products, and trace

elements).

(e) Methods of animal, rodent, and pest control to reduce loss

of farm products.

(f) What are the potentials for modification of existing tech-

nologies and testing these modifications on small farms?

Quality of Life for Small-Scale Farm Families

The quality of life for small-scale farm families is inextricably

linked to the communities in which they live. Likewise, the viability

of rural communities may be linked with the existence and viability

of a small farm sector in those communities.

Since many small-scale farm families rely on off-farm jobs as

a primary source of income, what do we know about the nature of this

dual employment activity and the conditions under which expansion of

off-farm jobs in rural areas would be most effective in helping small-

scale farmers improve their well-being? What are the characteristics

of communities with a large proportion of small-scale farm families,

and what are the conditions under which public sector employment or

direct assistance may benefit small-scale farm families?

Additional issues to be addressed relating to quality of life for

small-scale farm families include:









(a) What are the aspirations, goals, and expectations of small-

scale farm families?

(b) Are small-scale farm families satisfied with occupation,

family life, and living environment?

(c) How do they regard organizational involvements?

(d) What is the capacity of small-scale farm families to cope

with crises and changing conditions?

(e) What is the availability of community services and facilities

for meeting health, mental health, educational, vocational,

transportation, and other needs of small-scale farm families?

(f) How do their housing and living environments compare to

others? Is financing available for housing improvement

construction?

(g) What is the health and nutrition status of small-scale farm

families? Do they have adequate access to group life,

health, and accident insurance programs?

(h) What is the availability of social and recreational facil-

ities for small-scale farm families? Do they utilize such

facilities?

(i) What training is needed to prepare farm operators or family

members for off-farm work, or for on-farm nonagricultural

income producing activities?

(j) What combination of farm and off-farm employment is most

coniensurate with optimum allocation of family resources

in various geographic regions?








IPolicy

The issues identified for additional work in the above categories

suggest a need to address a wide variety of public policy issues as well.

Public policies may have different effects on the economic circumstances

of farms of different sizes. Two broad policy research areas identified

are: (1) analysis of the effects of public policy (tax, price, income,

etc.) and other forces on the number and economic situations of small

farms and other farms; and (2) analysis of the effects of alternative

size structures and size-structure policies an economic and social goals

of society. Specific policy research issues include the following:

(a) Are policies (agricultural and nonagricultural) biased in

favor of farms of particular sizes and types?

(b) How well do current Federal and State agricultural, income

assistance, and other programs meet the needs of small-scale

farmers and their families?

(c) hat are the differential effects an farms of varying sizes

fostered by uniform incremental changes in product prices,

incomes, and volume of production?

(d) What would be the effects of alternative policies preferential

to farms of varying size, such as: (1) graduated levels of

premiums inversely related to farm size; (2) income supplement

payments to farms below a specified size income; (3) more

government assumption of risk through interest supplements

graduated to farm size: (4) elimination of set-aside require-

ments associated with any crop production control program for






small-scale farms; (5) limitations on total of all types of

compensatory payments to any individual; or (6) compensatory

payments as either cost-sharing or income supplements for

practices important to the economic viability of small farms?

(e) What are the relationships between the level and stability

of income and small-scale farmers' mobility?

(f) What is the relationship between risk reduction from disaster

protection or crop insurance and farm viability by farm size?

How would alternative types of programs distribute benefits and

costs (in the case of insurance) among farms of different sizes?

Extension

Although Extension has conducted special pilot projects for small-

scale farmers in many States which are fairly well documented, there

are no definitive data on the extent of small-scale farmer participa-

tion in regular Extension activities, most of which are probably not

specific to farm size. While many small-scale farmers undoubtedly

benefit from mediated, nonsize specific Extension activities, it

appears that small-scale farmers do not avail themselves of such

activities to the same extent as larger-scale farmers.

The Extension small farm pilot projects appear to have confirmed

the hypothesis that same small-scale farmers do not benefit as much as

others from regular Extension activities and that small-scale farmers

will participate in and benefit from intensive education activities

conducted by someone they can more easily relate to on a level they

readily comprehend.

In designing Extension programs for small-scale farmers, whether

as part of regular Extension activities or as intensive, one-on-one








programs utilizing small farm program aides, more specification of the

small-scale farmer clientele is needed. While fully two-thirds of all

farmers may be classified as "small-scale" using a $20,000 gross

sales level as the criterion, clearly not all such farmers either

desire, require, or stand to benefit from intensive Extension assist-

ance (see the section in this report on "Clientele of the Small Farm

Program," p. 39).

Further, within the "eligible" small farm categories there are

varying degrees of market orientation, receptivity to farm improvements,

and farm versus nonfarm focus. As classified by Brinkman, Driver, and
19/
Blackburn, / each small-scale farmer will have differing potential to

benefit from assistance, as they differ on these three scales (Figure 1).

Additional information about and evaluation of both regular and

intensvie Extension programs for small-scale farmers are needed.

Regular Extension Programs

Concerning regular Extension programs, the following additional

information is needed:

(a) What is the actual, as compared to the potential, participa-

tion rate of small-scale farmers in these programs?

(b) Do small-scale farmers avoid these programs because of socio-

cultural barriers between themselves and professional

Extension staff, or because the information and assistance



G.L. Brinkman, H.C. Driver, and D.J. Blackburn, A Classification
of Limited Resource Farmers Based on Behavioral and Economic
Characteristics, School of Agricultural Economics and Extension
Education Pub. No. 77-3, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario
(1977).












Limited Resource Farmer Classification System


STRONG MARKET ORIENTATION


I LIMITED MARKET ORIENTATION


RecmntIs UmeciveTormmpre
Receptive TO farm Improvements UnreceptiveTo Farmimprovements


TRANSITION STAGE POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL


Expanding
Young
Energetic
Capable Managers







Expansion programs
for land and credit
for investment


Established
Considerable re-
sources
Capable Managers
Need incentives
to make. farm
changes
Possibility that
son will take over
in the near future


Programs to reduce
risk on loans and
investments for
farm reorganization

Some expansion pro-
grams


Personal and Physlial Problem


MAINTENANCE STATE

Established farmers
Majority in late
50's and early 60's
Strongly security
oriented and/or
physically limited
Don't expect son
to take over farm



Programs to achieve
greater labour
efficiency through
labour saving equip.
and programs to re-
duce risk from
production, prices,
and capital invest-
ments


Possible Full -Time Farmers-- ---- -Permanent I Pait-Tme Farmers-


TRANSITION STAGE




Expanding
Accumulate capital
for farm expansion
by nonfarm job
Young
Energetic
Capable Managers


Expansion programs
for land and credit
for investment


POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL PERMANENT PART-TIME
RECEPTIVE TO CHANGE


Established
Considerable
resources
Capable Managers
Rely on Supplemental
nonfarm income
Need encouragement
to make changes

Programs designed
for farm focused
potential commercial
farmers are applic-
able


Committed to operat-
ing farm in conjunc-
tion with nonfarm
job
Established and New
Farmers, both young
or middle aged
Adequate Management

Programs to achieve
greater labour effic-
iency
Programs to improve
nonfarm employment
opportunities


PERMANENT PART-TIME,
IN MAINTENANCE STATE
WITH INCOME DERIVED
MAINLY FROM
AGRICULTURE
Strongly security-
oriented






Programs to reduce
risk from production
prices and capital
investment
Programs to improve
nonfarm employment
opportunities


PERMANENT PART-TIME.
IN MAINTENANCE STATE
WITH INCOME DERIVED
.MIIILY FROM NONFARM
SOURCES
Operate market-
oriented, moderate
sized farms as a
secondary enter-
prise to nonfarm job
Difficult to motivate
for farm improve-
ments

Programs to improve
nonfarm earning
opportunities


Personal and _psad Problem


TRADITIONAL RETIREMENT AGE


Not adjusted to Over age 65
commercial orien- Less active
station of economy Reluctant to make
Oriented to self- changes in farm
sufficiency
Limited sales
small farms
Technology typical
of farms 30 or 40
years ago
Low Mgt. ability
Programs must focus Possible retirement
on management coun- programs
selling before re-
source expansion

Welfare Asst.



Peoirsol end ,aecol Peroblnem


TRADITIONAL




Same characteristics
as farm focused ex-
cept these farmers
supplement farm
income with
nonfarm earnings


Programs the same
s for farm focused
traditional farmers


NONFARM

FOCUS


NONFARM FOCUS

Moderate or
high nonfarm
incomes
Farm for a hobby
or form of rec-
reation





Not likely clien-
tele of either ag-
ricultural or non-
agricultural assist-
ance programs


FARM

FOCUS


MIXED

FOCUS









are inappropriate for their needs? Is scale of farm operation

the primary factor for non-participation in regular Extension

programs?

(c) What are the specific educational needs of small-scale farmers?

Are long-standing Extension methods of involving clientele in

program development effective for small-scale farmer programs?

(d) What proportion of Extension work is not specific to size?

Can these mediated activities be modified to make them more

appealing or useful to small-scale farmers?

(e) Do regular Extension programs adequately address the needs

of the entire small-scale farm family or do they tend to

focus primarily on the farm operator's needs?

(f) To what extent are small-scale farm families benefited by the

nore general rural development activities of Extension?

Intensive Small-Scale Farmer Programs

Regarding the Extension programs providing intensive assistance

to small-scale farmers, there is a need to know the following:

(a) What proportion of small-scale farmers may be expected to

participate in and benefit from such a program?

(b) What is the optimum small-scale farmer client load for each

program aide or Extension professional?

(c) What is the optimum length of time for a small-scale farmer

to participate in the intensive program? What are the

graduation or dropout rates for such programs, and what are

the reasons for the terminations?









(d) To what extent do these intensive programs address the needs

of the entire small-scale farm family? Do comparisons exist

between those assisting primarily the farm operator and those

addressing the needs and abilities of the whole small-scale

farm family?

Higher Education

There appear to be two ways higher education institutions can

help the small-scale farmers; first, through their regular degree

programs and, secondly, through nontraditional degree programs pro-

vided for members of small-scale farm families.

Those regular degree program students who will become the primary

local Extension contact for small-scale farm family members or local

agency administrators for small farm assistance programs may benefit

from added course work on farm and family management and the socio-

eccnnmics of small farms.

Nontraditional degree programs may need to be tailored to the

needs and resources of small-scale farm families and their communities.

It may be feasible to utilize rural community professionals as volunteer

teachers, providing career options which enhance the potential of small-

scale farm families for economic and social mobility.






A POLICY FRAMEWORK


,Rationale for Public Expenditure
for Small Farm Activities

Determining whether all or some of the gaps identified in the

preceding section should be filled, and at what rate, requires the

formulation of a rationale for public expenditure for small farm

activities. There has not been enough attention devoted to the

formulation of a rationale and the measures of program success that

would be derived from it. In addition, there has been no clear

purpose to much of the small farm activity, making evaluation

difficult if not impossible. Those who control the use of public

funds are reluctant to support proposals for increased activity

without an adequate evaluation of present activities.

Of perhaps even greater negative significance is an unrealistic

expectation of what the agricultural science and education community

can achieve. Projects have been initiated in an atmosphere of great

missionary zeal where proclamations on objectives have not been sub-

ject to the test of realism. Disappointment has been an all too ccmmon

result of such undertakings even when positive results have been achieved.

The rationale for assisting small-scale farmers should be based

on four principles:

1. All farmers, regardless of size, should be assisted by the USDA

land-grant college and university agricultural science and

education system. Because of varying needs and types of farm-

ing, no single method of assistance will suffice; programs

must be developed to meet the unique needs of those who oper-

ate small-scale farms as well as larger-scale farmers.










2. Simple equity requires that attention be given to those

whose needs are greatest, and human dignity dictates that

effort be expended to assist low income small-scale farmers

to raise their income, from either farm or nonfarm earned

income, when it is at all possible for them to do so.

3. An agricultural system that permits small farms provides the

opportunity for persons to choose small-scale farming or to

combine farming with off-farm employment as a life style.

4. Assistance to small-scale farmers will praomte better manage-

ment and more effective use of a significant body of the

Nation's natural resources.

These principles offer a solid rationale for undertaking research,

extension and higher education activity oriented to small-scale farm

families or, for that matter, any other type of activity oriented toward

small farms. This is not to say that it has higher priority than all or

any other activities performed by the public sector. It merely says

that small farm activity appears to fall within the category of legitimate

activity performed by the public sector. How many resources at various

levels of total Federal and State budgets should be devoted to small

farm activity can only be determined through the political process; how-

ever, soae general recommendations with respect to resource levels appear

in the last section of this paper. For any given level of resources

within the agricultural area, a balance will have to be struck between

activities that assure an adequate supply of food and those activities





that assist small-scale farm families. While there is some cample-

mentarity among these activities, they compete for the limited

resources available to agriculture.

What Not to Expect from a Small Farm Program

Two arguments that have been used to support a small farm research,

extension and higher education effort lack validity and have tended to

confuse the planning and evaluation of small farm activities.

First, and most important, a small farm effort should not be under-

taken for purposes of significantly affecting the food supply. Small

farms account for only a small component of agricultural output. By

definition, and within any reasonable expectation of the number of small

farms, they will have little impact on the future total supply of food

and fiber. Research, extension and teaching efforts concerned with

assuring adequate supplies of food and fiber must be directed to large

farms or not specific to size of farm. This is not to say that small

farms will not have a significant impact on the production of certain

specialty crops and same types of livestock. However, in terms of the

aggregate supply of food and fiber, the impact of small farms will

remain very small.
Second, and related to the first point, is that small farm research,

extension and teaching activities should not be undertaken for purposes

of altering the number of farms producing most of this Nation's food

and fiber. If the number of such farms is to be changed, it will have

to be done using other more powerful tools of public policy--tax and

price policy, restriction on resource use, etc. Research, extension
and teaching programs can facilitate a particular size structure but

they cannot be the principal force behind any reduction in the level
of concentration in the farm sector.






Clientele of the Small Farm Program

The current USDA definition of a small farm is as follows:

-- Family net income from all sources (farm and nonfarm) is

below the median nonmetropolitan income of the state,

The family is dependent on farming for a significant, though

not necessarily a majority, of its income, and

-- Family members provide most of the labor and management.

Using a corrbination of Census and data collected by ESCS, Carlin

and Crecink have developed the following matrix: 20/


$20,000 gross sales


Well-being of
families with
farm businesses A B
700,000 500,000
High Income
farms farms
Median nonmetropolitan
-inccme: $13,800 in 1977

C D
Low Income 1,000,000 300,000
farms farms


Small Large

Size of farm business

The 700,000 farms in cell "A" of the matrix sales less than

$20,000 but income above the median nonmetropolitan income are small

farms, but they do not have the income problem that makes assistance

so essential. While there are no doubt exceptions, one or both members


20/ Thomas A. Carlin and John Crecink, Small Farm Definition and Public
Policy, presented at the AAEA annual meeting, Pullman, Washington,
(July 30 August 1, 1979).








of the farm family earn considerable off-farm income, suggesting a

relatively high level of education and the ability to utilize agri-

cultural research results with a minimum of direct assistance.

The 500,000 farms in cell "B" account for most of this Nation's

output of food and fiber. The output of the agricultural research

community is quickly adopted by this group. The future concentration

of farming in the U.S. is largely dependent upon the number of farms

in this cell, and to same extent cell "D", and not by the number of

farms in cells "A" and "C".

The 300,000 farms in cell "D" have sales exceeding $20,000 but

have incomes below the median ncnmetropolitan income. Their size

suggests that farm income is important and that they would be large

enough so that improvements in their farming operation could signifi-

cantly improve their family income situation. It is quite likely that

many of the farm families in this group have limited off-farm incomes.

The one million farms in cell "C" are small in terms of sales,

but more importantly in terms of their needs, they are below the

median ncnmetropolitan income. While the number is not known, many

of these farm families are in poverty.

Small farm research, extension, and education activities should

be focused toward farm families in cells "A", "C", and most of those

in cell "D"; those currently below the poverty level should receive

first priority. The major focus of farm oriented research and

extension would be on those in cells "C" and "D" who wish to remain

active in farming and have the physical health to do so. For others

in cells "C" and "D", the focus should be on helping them increase









their off-farm income and to take advantage of the full range of

services available to them in their community. It would seem safe

to assume that small farm research or research not specific to size

that was beneficial to farms in cells "A" and "B" would be adopted

by them; only minimal effort would be needed to package the info-

mation for their use.

Determining Success

Based on the above rationale and clientele, the following factors

can serve as means of quantifying the success of any small farm effort

by the agricultural science and education community:

1. The number of small-scale farm families whose real earned farm

and nonfarm income increases--greatest emphasis would be given

to raising all farm families above the poverty level.

2. Number of small-scale farmers who perceive that their quality

of life has improved.

3. Reduction in underemployed rural human resources.

A long-term goal, given the stated rationale of a small farm pro-

gram, might be expressed as follows: There are few in society who

want to farm that are prohibited from earning at least a part of their

income from farming as a result of artificial barriers to entry, such

as a lack of available technology or access to technical advice, and

there are few, if any, producers of agricultural products whose earned

farm and nonfarm income is below their aspiration, given their pro-

pensity to work (ideally this would be about equal to or greater than

the median ncnmetropolitan income level). The specification of the












longer-term goal belongs in the political arena and will no doubt

change over time. However, it would seem desirable to express this

in terms other than the preservation of some arbitrary number of

small farms, however they are defined.

Except for the first factor listed above (income), measurement

will be difficult. A part of the research and evaluation effort

must be directed toward developing ways to measure these other

factors.

Need for Other Small Farm Assistance

The agricultural science and education system alone cannot

bring about success as measured by the above factors. Extension

personnel can determine the specific needs of small farms within

a given community and fulfill these needs when it involves technical

assistance. However, if needs are largely credit, for example,

there must be public or private institutions prepared to make

credit available. There must be a commitment by the full range of

public and private institutions to help the small-scale farmer so

that the efforts of the agricultural science and education community

can be of greatest benefit.








SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION


This section focuses first on suggestions for coordination needs.

These are followed by ideas on priorities and resource levels.

Coordination

The Joint Council should consider the inclusion of a small farm

component in its regional and national planning and coordinating struc-

ture for research, extension, and higher education. A small farm com-

ponent of these planning bodies could provide a mechanism to pull

together the many excellent efforts currently underway (Rural Develop-

ment Centers, SEA-AR's planned conference on Technology for Small

Farms, National Rural Center, USDA-CSA-ACTIIW small farm pilot pro-

jects, the work of State small farm committees, etc.) to conduct

additional planning activities and serve as a catalyst to bring about

appropriate implementation of the plans. The small farms area needs

special planning attention at this time. Thus, the small farm task

force should be established and supported until the basic program is

designed and implemented, but for no longer than three years.

The small farm planning task force or subcommittee should be

guided by the policy framework specified in the preceding section and

by the suggestions on priorities and resource level identified below.

Priorities and.Resource Levels

Research

The identification of the characteristics of small farms and work

in the areas of "Community Infrastructure" and "Quality of Life" are

of the highest priority. Little has been done in these areas; however,







the output of this work is essential in developing any meaningful

overall small farms program, particularly an extension program.

Resources devoted to all of the nontechnology work totals an esti-

mated $2.0 million in 1980. Given the cost of acquiring the needed

data, it would seem reasonable to increase this level of funding by

about $7.0 million. This could be reduced after 3-5 years to a

level sufficient to periodically update the basic data and to deal

with topical policy issues and conduct program evaluations.

Technology research related specifically to small farms totals

about $3.7 million in 1980. There is, however, a large amount of

technology research that is not related to size that is or could be

of benefit to small farms. The small farm work should not exceed

$5.0 $6.0 million until the results of a number of activities,

particularly SEA-AR's conference on small farm technology scheduled

for next year, are available.

With these adjustments, the total small farm research program

would be about $15.0 million.

Extension

The results of the Extension paraprofessional approach have been

impressive. An extension program developed along these lines will be

needed to bring about measurable success. But this is a costly pro-

gram. It has taken an annual cost of about $500 per farm family to

bring about the results discussed earlier in this report. The exact

number of farmers in categories "C" and "D" of the matrix who could be

helped by such a program is not known, but it would be quite large.

Thus, at $500 per farm family, the annual cost of expanding this







program to the national level would run into the hundreds of

millions of dollars.

Currently, $5 million of Extension funds are devoted to the

special pilot projects. While mudc has been learned about the suc-

oess of these programs, they have not been designed to generate the

kind of management data needed to formulate a national program. For

example, it is not known with any degree of certainty whether inten-

sive involvement by Extension is needed each year for the farm family

to maintain past increases in income and achieve further increases or

whether intensive involvement is needed only every other year or

every third year. Answers to questions of this type are essential

in determining resource requirements for a national program.

It is reconnended that the program be increased to $10 million

and, coupled with the increased research, a formal evaluation of

the program be undertaken over the next three years.

Higher Education

No estimate is available of current small farms efforts of

higher education; hence, it is not possible to suggest any changes

with respect to future funding. It seems obvious, however, as the
needs and desires of small-scale farmers become better known,

higher education will have an important role in the design and

implementation of programs to meet these needs and desires.

Source of Resources

Additional funding for small farm research should not cone from

redirection. This is not to say that all current activity is of

higher priority than some of the identified small farm research






gaps. Some redirection can take place and research directors and

administrators should look for opportunities to include such

adjustments. However, agricultural research has generally been

underfunded in recent years relative to other uses of public funds,

given the rates of return that have been estimated for agricultural

research. Therefore, it would seem appropriate that new initiatives

be funded primarily from increased resources.

With extension, it is somewhat less clear given the great un-

certainty surrounding the level of current effort. However, there

is immediate need to sharpen the focus of the special pilot programs

and this can only be done by adding resources specifically earmarked

for the program.

Data on Small Farm Activity

There is no periodically updated data base on small farm activity.

The data that the task force utilized in this report are the product

of several one-time efforts by individuals or groups to meet the

specific data needs of their assignment. The small farm planning

groups recommended in this report need to give immediate attention

to this problem.

On the research side, special category codes should be established

to show the relationship of the research to farm size. These cate-

gories would be as follows:

Small Farm: The research is undertaken for the purpose of solving

a problem unique to small farms. For this purpose small farms are

defined as those with sales less than $20,000 and/or family income

below the nonmetropolitan median income.







Not Size Specific: The research is undertaken to deal with

particular problems that are related equally to all size groups of

farms. Most basic plant and animal research would fall into this

category.

Large Farm: The research is undertaken for the purpose of

solving a problem unique to large farms.

If a small farm subcommittee of the National Research Planning

Committee of the Joint Council's planning and coordination structure

were to be established, it should monitor the use of the codes and

add appropriate specificity to the definitions to get some degree of

consistency in their use. The Planning Committee should also under-

take an analysis of the work that is identified as "not specific to

size" to determine whether the application of the results tend to

be biased toward any particular size farm--i.e., is research not

specific to size really size neutral?

The current estimate of $52,0 million is thought by some to

grossly underestimate Extension's actual small farm effort. The

small farm subcommittee of the National Extension Planning Committee

should take the lead in establishing a method to obtain and period-

ically update resource data on Extension's small farm effort.






REFERENCES


Bay, Ovid, Theron Bell, and Marjorie Berninger. Regional
Small Farm Conferences: National Summary, Washington,
D.C.: USDA, CSA, ACTION (December 1978).

Baker, Barton S., Marvin R. Fausett, Paul E. Lewis, and E.
Keith Inskeep. "Progress Report on the Allegheny High-
lands Project: Agriculture, January-December, 1978,"
Morgantown, West Virginia: College of Agriculture and
Forestry, University of West Virginia, 1979.

Brinkman, G. L., H. C. Driver, and D. J. Blackburn. A
Classification of Limited Resource Farmers Based on
Behavioural and Economic Characteristics, Pub. No. 77-3,
Guelph, Ontario: School of Agricultural Economics and
Extension Education, University of Guelph, 1977.

Carlin, Thomas A. and John Crecink. "Small Farm Definition
and Public Policy," Pullman, Washington: presented at
the AAEA annual meeting (July 30-August 1, 1979).

Madden, J. Patrick and Heather Tischbein. "Toward an Agenda
for Small Farm Research--a Preliminary Report," Pullman,
Washington: presented at the AAEA annual meeting (July 30-
August 1, 1979).

Myers, William E. "Comments on Small Farm Research:
California's Small Farm Viability Project," Small-Farm
Issues: Proceedings of the ESCS Small-Farm Workshop,
May 1978, ESCS-60, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department
of Agriculture (July 1979).

National Rural Center. Toward a Federal Small Farms Policy,
Phase I: Barriers to Increasing On-Farm Income. NRC
Report No. 9, Washington, D.C.: National Rural Center
(November 1978).

North Central Regional Center for Rural Development. Small
Farms Research Priorities in the North Central Region,
Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University (February 1979).

Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development. "Small
Farm Activity in the Northeast: A Directory of Land
Grant University Personnel by Discipline and Subject
Area," Ithaca, New York: Cornell University (June 1979).

Orden, David and Steven T. Buccola. "An Evaluation of
Southern Cooperative Extension Programs Aimed at Small
Farmers," Pullman, Washington: presented at AAEA annual
meeting (July 30-August 1, 1979).







Orden, David and Patricia Klobus Edwards. "Preliminary
Evaluation of Small Farm Programs in the Southern United
States," Nashville, Tennessee: presented at the Southern
Small Farm Management Workshop (October 25, 1978).

Orden, David and Dennis K. Smith. Small Farm Programs:
Implications From a Study in Virginia, Research Division
Bulletin 135, Blacksburg, Virginia: Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University (October 1978).

Schwartz, J. W. A Bibliography for Small and Organic Farmers:
1920 to 1978, Washington, D.C.: Science and Education
Administration-Agricultural Research, USDA, 1978.

Science and Education Administration. "The Science and
Education Administration's Research and Extension
Programs for Small Farms," a Report Prepared for the
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and
Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House
of Representatives, Washington, D.C.: SEA, USDA (March 1,
1979).

Southern Rural Development Center. The Role of Communi-
cation and Attitudes in Small Farm Programs, SRDC
Synthesis Series No. 4, Mississippi State, Mississippi
(August, 1978).

Southern Rural Development Center. Small Farm Operations:
The Role of Communication and Attitudes in Small Farm
Programs, SRDC Bibliography Series No. 4, Mississippi
State, Mississippi (Summer, 1977).

State CETA Office. The Family Farm in California: Report
of the Small Farm Viability Project, Sacramento, Cali-
fornia (November 1977).

United States Department of Agriculture. Small Farm Issues:
Proceedings of the ESCS Small-Farm Workshop, May 1978,
ESCS 60, Washington, D.C. (July 1979).

West, Jerry G. "Agricultural Economics Research and
Extension Needs of Small-Scale, Limited Resource Farmers,"
Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 11,
No. 1, pp. 49-56 (July 1979).

West, Jerry G. "Issues in Research and Education Related
to Small Farms," Washington, D.C.: Science and Education
Administration, USDA (mimeo), 1979.





APPENDIX TABLE 1


Total Publicly Funded Agricultural Research Effort
with Research Activity Directly Related to Samll


Carpared
Farms*


Number
of
Type of Research Projects


Scientist
Years


Total
Funds
(000$1


Federally
Appropriated
Funds (000$1.


State and
Other Funds
(000$1


Total State and Federal


Total in State Agricultural
Experiment Stations

Social Science Oriented Small
Farm Research: **

1862 Institutions
1890 Institutions

Technology Oriented Small
Farm Research: **

1862 Institutions
1890 Institutions

Total Small Farm Research: **

Projects Classified as
Marginal to Small Farm
Research Problems


25,730 10,983,4


20,725


6,556,7


10,2
5.3


3,7
7,9

27,1



8.9


* Total research effort is from SEA/CR published data
data is from CRIS forms for fiscal 1977.


for fiscal 1977 while small


farm research fund


** All CRIS forms in any way identifying small farms as subject of inquiry were examined and only those
judged to be of direct relevance to small farms were included, Only projects at 1862 and 1890
Land Grant Institutions were included.
Source: Jerry G. West, "Agricultural Economics Research and Extension Needs for Small-Scale, Limited
Resource Farmers," Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol, 11, No, 1, pp, 49-56 (July 1979).


1,004,086


594,230


606
404


215
331

1,556



888


514,343


117,686


322
397


3
219.

941



600


489,743


416/544
f


284
7


212
112

615



288


_ __ ___











APPENDIX TABLE 2


SMALL FARM RESEARCH PROTECTS IN LAND GRANT INSTITUTIONS
BY AREA OF EMPHASIS, 1977*


Research Area


'(btl (Fds
($) (%)


SY
(No.) (4)


Typology (16)**

Enterprise Conbination (12)

Marketing (9)

Technology (17)

Other Areas (13)***


Total (67)


264,877

284,537

179,469

546,107

281,245


1,556,235


Information taken from CRIS forms with only those projects in-
cluded which were directly related to small farms.

** Figure in parentheses indicates number of projects.

*** Other areas includes finance (3), transportation (1), government
programs (2), off-farm employment (2), human capital (3), social
dimensions (1), and community impacts (1).

Source: Jerry G. West, "Agricultural Ecorxnics Research and Extension
Needs of Snall-Scale, Limited Resource Farmrs," Southern
Journal of Agricultural Econmnics, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 4-56
July 1979).
*U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1980 0-310-945/SEA-27


17.0

18.3

11.5

35.0

18.2


100.0


3.3

5.9

2.4

11.6

3.9


27.1


12.2

21.8

8.8

42.8

14.4


100.0




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