Title: Small farmers of Florida and some suggestions for assistance [draft 3]
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Title: Small farmers of Florida and some suggestions for assistance draft 3
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Edmond, Clarence D.
Publisher: Institute of Food and Agricultureal Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1979
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DRAFT #3 -
THE SMALL FARMERS OF FLORIDA AND SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR ASSISTANCE*


For many years the number of farms in the U.S. has been decreasing as

many farms (mostly small) have been absorbed by other small farms which have

become much larger and more specialized. Even so the large majority of

today farms are small. Let's look at some statistics. Back in 1960 re-

latively few farms in the nation had gross sales of over $100,000, but to-

day the number is up eight-fold, about a third of which is due to higher

prices. The number of farms selling less than $5,000 per farm annually have

decreased about one-half since 1960, yet they still make up about 40% of U.S.

farms. About two-thirds of the farms in the nation sell less than $20,000

per year of farm products (considered "small" by USDA). This continuing

problems of small farms have recently demanded and received new attention

from universities and federal agencies throughout the nation.
Small farms are concentrated in the southern states (Figure 1), with

highest concentrations in the Appalachian area (West Virginia, Tennessee, South
Carolina) and Mississippi and Alabama. But Florida, like many other states,

has its share of small farms, with about 3 out of 4 farmers receiving less

than $20,000 income from farm product sales in 1974.

The widespread small farm problem and the plight of family farms through-

out the nation, plus the loss of agricultural lands to other uses have caused

recent nationwide groundswells (both within and outside agriculture) about

(1) the continued well being of small farmers, and (2) the nation's future

ability to produce a plentiful supply of food and fiber. The widespread con-

cern for family farms and small farms is evidenced by the many articles in

newspapers and journals throughout the nation, and by the recent nation-wide

series of "listening" conferences on small farmer problems.


*Clarence D. Edmond, Director, Center for Community and Rural Development,
IFAS, University of Florida, November, 1979.






























90.0%-100%



80.0%-90.0%



70.0%-80.0%



60.0%-70.0%


less than 60.0%


Figure 1. The Percent of Farms With Annual Sales of Less Than $20,000
by State in 1974, United States. ( 1974 Census of Agriculture)







With all the recent concern, meetings, and writings regarding small

farmers, there is still relatively little information specifically related

to small farmers. Very little research actually pinpoints or defines the

small farmer and his problems. Further, there is no easy or quick way to

identify or separate the small farmer from the large farmer, except by

farm survey or by letting the farmer himself decide. However, some definition

of the small farmer is needed to help determine the importance of the small

farmer problem and to provide some general characteristics of "small" farming

operations. Thus, the remainder of this paper will be devoted to discussing

the extent of the small farmer problem in Florida, suggesting some small farm

definitions, and supporting small farm demonstrations as a basic educational

tool for improving small farmer knowhoww", income, and level of living. Re-

member the old saying? "Give a man a fish and you have to feed him each day;

but teach him how to fish, and he can feed himself for the rest of his life."


Florida Farms by Sales Classes

In 1974 the Census of Agriculture listed 32,466 farms in Florida (Table 1).

Of these farms, over 1 out of 3 had sales of less than $2,500, while 3

out of 4 had sales of less than $20,000. Only 1 out of 6 reported sales of

over $40,000, but they accounted for 90% of farm products sold. This points

up the "commercial" importance of the "few" large farms and the "social"

importance of the "many" small farms.

It is often thought that many of the small farm operators in Florida

are black. This is not the case. The 1974 Census shows that the percentage

of farm operators who were white exceeded 95% in all sales classes (Table 1).









TABLE 1. SELECTED DATA FOR FARMS BY ANNUAL SALES CLASS FLORIDA 1974


All Farmsa/


Less than
$2500


$2500-
$49999


$5000-
$99999


$10000-
$199999


$20000-
$39999


$250 $999 1999 1999 39999 more


$40000 or
more


Total Number of Farms, 1974

7 Farm Operators Percent White

7 Percent of Total Farms, 1974

7 Percent of Market Value of
Agricultural Products Sold
Percent of Production Expenses
Percent of Value of Land and
Buildings

Percent of Market Value of
Machinery and Equipment
Percent of Total Estimated Value
of Machinery and Equipment
Percent of All Automobiles


32,466


96.7


100.0

100.0
100.0

100.0


100.0

100.0
100.0


11,497


96.2

35.5


4,742 4,123


96.9

14.6


95.2

12.7


.8 1.5


1.2

8.8


11.9

11.8
31.0


1.8

7.5


5.6

5.6
10.6


1.7

6.3


5.6

5.6
9.5


3,784

96.8

11.6


2.8
2.8

7.7


6.7

6.6
9.6


2,850 5,428


97.8

8.8


4.2
4.2

9.1


8.2

8.2
9.2


99.0

16.7

89.7
88.0

60.0


61.4

61.0
29.9


Includes "Abnormal Farms" not classified by value of annual sales.


SOURCE: United States Bureau of the
Florida, Volume 1, Part 9.


Census. 1974 Census of Agriculture, State and County Data,
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977.


TABLE 1.


SELECTED DATA FOR FARMS BY ANNUAL SALES CLASS


- FLORIDA 1974







Field experience shows that many of the small farmers are short on

education, finances, knowledge of improved practices, and management skills.

Many work off the farm to supplement their limited net farm income. On the

average, farm expenses take about two-thirds of the sales leaving about one-

third of farm sales as net farm income.

Florida's small farmers not only receive low net farm income, but they

also receive a relatively small share of government farm program payments.

Although farmers receiving less than $40,000 in sales made up 75%

of all farmers in 1974, theyreceived only 18% of "total government farm pro-

gram payments" (Table 2).

It is often thought that many small farmers and few larger farmers work

off the farm. This is partially true in that off-farm work is more important

to small farmers; however, many larger farmers also work "off-farm". In 1974,

the frequency of off-farm work (1-149 days + 150 days or more) decreased

steadily as farm size increased from 78% for farmers with sales of less

$2,500 to 32% for farmers with sales of $40,000 or more (Table 2).

The percentage of farm operators reporting 1-149 days of off-farm work

was about equal for all income classes, running from 10 to 11%. In contrast,

a considerably higher percentage of the smaller farmers reported working off

the farm for 150 days or more. This varied from about 2 out of 3 for the

sales classes below $5,000 to 1 out of 5 for the group with sales of $40,000

or more (Table 2).

Although the frequency of off-farm income was greater for smaller farms,

the amount of off-farm income received per farm of those reporting on off-farm

work tended to be more even (Table 3): Nearly 80% of the farmers with sales

of less than $10,000 received off-farm income of $5,000 or more. But, 2 out

of 3 of the largest farms (sales of $40,000 or more) also received $5,000 or

more of off-farm income.









TABLE 2. _SELECTED DATA FOR FARMS BY ANNUAL SALES CLASS_ FLORIDA 1974


All Farms


Less than
$2500


$2500-
$4999


$5000-
$9999


$10000-
$19999


$20000-
$39999


$40000 or
more


TotallNumber of Farms, 1974

Percent reporting on their
off-farm work

Of those reporting, % reporting:
"-none"
S1-149 days
150 days or more

Percent of total farm related
income
SPercent of total government
farm program payments
7 Percent of total farm related
income resulting from government
farm programs


32,466


78.1


46.1
18.4
S35.5
100.0


100.0

100.0


27.2


11,497


90.7


22.3
11.3 11
66 -
100.0

6.5

3.8


15.8


4,742


81.5


22.6
11.01 1'1

100.0

7.4

3.2


11.9


4,123


79.9


3,784


75.6


36.8 44.8
11.0 10 10 21.5
2 2 45.0J
100.0 100.0


16.5


6.9

3.3


13.1


2,850


75,7


56.7
10.7 1J3 -3
32.63
100.0

9.6

4.0


11.5


a/ Refers only to individual or family operations and partnerships.

SOURCE: United States Bureau of the Census. 1974 Census of Agriculture, State and County Data,
Florida, Volume 1, Part 9. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977.


5,428


76.2


68.0
10.0 0 S

100.0

63.3

81.8


35.2


___


TABLE 2. SELECTED DATA FOR


FARMS BY ANNUAL SALES CLASS FLORIDA 1974









SELECTED DATA FOR FARMS BY ANNUAL


All Farms


-Percent of Farmers Reporting
SAny Off-Farm Income, 1974 N/A

Percent of Farmers Reporting
Off-Farm Income with:
Off-farm income greater than
2 farm sales
Off-farm income less than farm
sales
SOff-farm income less than $5000
7Off-farm income $5000 or more
TOTAL

Percent of Off-Farm Income from:
Nonfarm related business
Wages, salaries, commissions and tips
Interest, dividends, royalties or rent
of nonfarm property
Federal social security, pensions, etc.
TOTAL


Less than
$2500


82.7


95.9

4.1
N/A
N/A



N/A
N/A

N/A
N/A


$2500-
$4999


70.1


_-m
20.2
79.8
100.0


21.3
61.1

11.6
6.0
100.0


$5000-.
$9999


67.8


21.8
78.2
100.0


19.2
63.3

11.4
6.1
100.0


$10000
$19999


61,6


-.V
24.5
75.5
100.0


17.8
58.7

17.4
6.1
100.0


$20000
$39999


54.9


29.1
70.9
100.0


21.1
53.1

21.8
4.9
100.0


$40000 or
more


47.9


34.0
66.0
100.0


26.6
41.1

29.3
3.1
100.0


a/ Comprehensive data of off-farm income is


not available for farms with sales of less than $2500.


SOURCE: United States Bureau of the Census. 1974 Census of Agriculture, State
Florida, Volume 1, Part 9. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing


and County Data,
Office, 1977.


__


TABLE 3.


SALES CLASS FLORIDA 1974


c.r




8

Wages, salaries, etc., composed the largest source of off-farm income for

all sales classes of farms but this source was relatively more important to the

smaller farms. Conversely income from "Non-farm business" and "interest,

dividends, etc." were both much more important to the larger farms.

From the data reviewed, one could conclude that off-farm income is more

important to small farmers, but that large farmers also depend quite heavily

upon off-farm income. Off-farm income is important to all sales classes of

farms in Florida.


Farm Products Sold as Related to Size

Table 4 shows the types of farm products sold in 1974 and how the mix of

products varied for the various sales classes of farms in Florida. Although

many persons think of Florida's small farmers as growers of vegetables and

fruits, the data show that they depend heavily upon "cattle and calves" for
sales. Farmers with less than $23,500 sales received over half of their farm

sales from "Cattle and'calves" compared to a little over one-third from

three other categories combined ("fruits, nuts and berries", "grains and

other field crops", and "vegetables, sweet corn, and melons"). The next

larger sales class ($2,500-$4,999) still received their highest percentage

of income from "cattle and calves"; but, it was only slightly larger than

the income from "fruits, nuts and berries". "Grains and other field crops"

came in third and "nursery products" made a poor fourth.

Note that for the sales group of $5,000 to $9,999, "fruits, nuts and

berries" were by far the most important sales source, with "cattle and

calves" ranking second and "grains and other field crops" third.

For the sales group of $10,000 to $19,999 "fruits, nuts and berries"

maintained first place by even a wider margin, while "cattle and calves"

barely exceeded "grains and other field crops".

For the two larger sales groups, "fruits, nuts and berries" were most

important by quite a margin, with "grains and other field crops" ranking











SELECTED DATA FOR FARMS BY ANNUAL SALES CLASS -


Less than
$2500


Total Number of Farms, 1974 32,466


Percent of Total


100.0


Percent of Market Value resulting
from:
Fruits, nuts, berries
Grains & other field crops
Vegetables, sweet corn, melons
Dairy products
Poultry
Nursery & greenhouse products
Cattle and calves
Other
TOTAL


11,497
35.5


36.4 b/


.6
6.3
55.8
.8
100.0


$2500-
$4999


4,742
"14.6


31.5
13.5
2.5
0.0
.4
7.0
33.3
11.8
100.0


$5000,.
$9999


4,123
12.7


36.4
16.6
3.8
0.1
.5
7.5
23.3
11.8
100.0


$10000,
$19999


3,784
11.6


39.2
17.2
5,3
.5
.8
7.6
17.7
11.7
100,0


$20000-
$39999


2,850
8.8


38.1
17.3
5.9
.6
1.9
7.9
14.9
13.4
100.0


$40000 or
more


5,428
16.7


24.1
19.9
13.8
12.1
10.4
9.3
7.0
3.4
100,0


-/"Abnormal FarmslA are not classified by value of annual sales, thus are not included.
b Includes all crops and hay.
SIncludes all livestock and livestock products.

SOURCE: United States Bureau of the Census. 1974 Census of Agriculture, State and County Data,
Florida, Volume 1, Part 9. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977.


Item


FLORIDA 1974 a/


TABLE 4.




10

second. Although "cattle and calves" ranked third for the $20,000 to $39,999

sales group, it ranked seventh for the highest sales group.

Note that very few of the operators with sales of less than $40,000 re-

ported income from "dairy products" and "poultry". Thirty to forty years ago

these two enterprises were more or less synonymous with small farms. Not so

today. At least, in Florida, these two types of production are associated

with the larger farms.
The above information on the relationship of size of farm and kinds of

products sold sheds light on the types of help that small farmers need most.

It can be surmised that many small farmers in Florida could be helped most

significantly by providing them with more efficient production practices

associated with "cattle and calves". The fact that "cattle and calves" are

either first or second for all sales classes of less than $20,000 points up

the need for an intensive effort in this particular field. The data also

support the same type of intensive training and demonstration work for those

small farmers receiving most of their income from "fruits, nuts and berries"

and "grains and other field crops". However, since citrus is such an important

crop in Florida, it is likely that the "fruits, nuts and berries" category

is more important to southern Florida, while "grains and other field crops"

is more important to north Florida.

Data in Table 5 are somewhat condensed from information shown in Table 4.

Some of the sales categories are combined to more explicitly show the rank in

importance of the various types of products sold for each sales class of farms.

Note that the "Smallest Farms" group includes the two- smallest categories

in Table 4 and that the "Small Farms" category in Table 5 includes the two

middle categories (sales classes of $5,000 $9,999 + $10,000 $19,999)

in Table 4. The two larger categories in Table 5 remain the same as in Table 4.

Grouping the farms as shown in Table 5 provides relatively homogenous

mixes of types of products sold by size of farm. Note that "cattle and calves"










TABLE 5. RANK OF FARM PRODUCT SALES BY FARM SIZE FLORIDA 1974a/


Smallest Farms (Sales of less than $5,000)b/


Cattle & Calves
Fruits, Nuts, Berries
Grains & Other Field Crops
Nursery & Greenhouse
Vegetables, Corn, Melons


(46%)
(28%)
(12%)
(7%)
( 2%)


Medium Farms (Sales of $20,000-$39,999)


Small Farms (Sales of $5,000 $19,999)

1) Fruits, Nuts, Berries (37%)
2) Cattle & Calves (21%)
3) Grains & Other Field Crops (17%)
4) Nursery & Greenhouse ( 8%)
5) Vegetables, Corn, Melons ( 4%)



Large Farms (Sales of $40,000 or more)


Fruits, Nuts, Berries
Grains & Other Field Crops
Cattle & Calves
Nursery & Greenhouse
Vegetables, Corn, Melons


(38%)
(17%)
(15%)
( 8%)
( 6%)


1)
2)
3)

7)
7)


Fruits, Nuts, Berries
Grains & Other Field Crops
Vegetables, Corn,Melons
Dairy Products
Poultry & Products
Nursery & Greenhouse
Cattle and Calves


a/ Source: Table 4

/ Percentages are estimated from data in Table 4.


(24%)
(20%)
(14%)
(12%)
(10%)
(9%)
( 7%)




12

are of much more importance to the smaller size farms than they are to the

larger ones accounting for nearly half of the sales for the "Smallest Farms",

but accounting for only 7% of sales for the largest size farms. Conversely,

"fruits, nuts and berries" were either first or second for each size of farms

shown in Table 5. "Grains and other field crops" ranked third or second for

four classes of farms.

Although it is generally thought that "ornamental horitculture crops"

and "vegetables" offer excellent opportunities for small farmers, they were not

an important source of sales to most small farms in 1974. This, of course,

does not necessarily mean that these crops have low potential for small farmers.

Rather, it may mean that demonstrating the feasibility of these enterprises for

small farmers may be needed.

Thus, the data presented in Table 5 suggest that two modes of assistance

to small farmers would be considered: One mode consists of improving operator

management, production, and marketing skills in those farm enterprises which

have typically produced most of the small farmers' sales (cattle for example).

The other mode consists of encouraging the small farmer to adopt other types

of enterprises for which the future seems especially bright (such as vegetables

and ornamentals) and become proficient in production and marketing them. Both

modes should receive considerable attention so that small farmers might be

able to better evaluate their potential and then obtain the necessary training

to become established in those enterprises showing the greatest potential for

their particular farm.

Small Farm Definitions

Over the years many attempts have been made to define farmers, farms,

family farms, and small farms. The Census definition of a farm has changed

several times since the first farm census was made, and none so far has been

completely satisfactory for all persons concerned. Likewise all attempts to

define a small farm have met with similar criticisms and limitations. Even

so, perhaps another attempt should be made to help guide small farm research
and extension work in Florida. Small farms could be classified according to




13

acres in the farm, labor required, sales class only, sales class plus off-farm

income, net farm income, total income of family, others, or any combination of

these. All have limitations.

Although not the official definition, for convenience USDA seems to have

settled on sales class only, with farms receiving less than $20,000 in sales

being classed as small. Many states seem to have followed this lead. Some

other examples of definitions by "sales" follow:

1) The Texas small farm program gives preference to farmers with

gross agricultural sales under $5,000 per year.(l)

2) Missouri limits its small farm program to farmers with less

than $10,000 annual sales who are under 60 years of age and

who have been farming for 4 years or more.(l)

3) Florida's Small Farm and Home Gardening program was limited

to farmers with less than $10,000 gross sales per year.(2)

4) A 14 southern state study used the USDA "working" definition -

small farms were limited to those with sales of less than $20,000

annually.(5)

Many other studies use the "less than $20,000 sales" criterion. It is

simple and data on sales classes are readily available. But, such a definition

has major disadvantages such as: (1) many farmers (small as well as large) do

receive a substantial part of their net income from off-farm sources; and (2)

"sales" do not very accurately indicate net farm income. Although determining

farm size by "sales class" plus "off-farm income" is more desirable than just

sales class only, it still has serious limitations. Again, the value of sales

does not necessarily indicate net farm income. And of course, neither net

farm income nor off-farm income is readily available for local areas.

Each year the USDA takes a sample of farms for the nation to determine "net

farm income before inventory adjustments", "off-farm income," and "total net in-

come" for the various sales classes of farms (Table 6). Note that while net farm
income (Col. 5) increases as expected with the size of farm, off-farm income (Col. 8)








T ABLE 6. U.S. AVERAGE INCOME PER FARM, 1977


Sales Net farm income Off-Farm Total income including
Value of Sales Class Number of before inventory Income nonmoney income from
Number Farms adjustment farm food and housing

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13)
Thousands % Dollars Rank % Dollars Rank % Dollars 'Rank %
All sales classes 2,706 100 7,439 .39 11,596 .61 19,035 100
$100,000 and over 1 162 6.0 38,310 1 .80 9,636 4 .20 47,946 1 100
$40,000 to $99,999 2 348 12.9 18,502 2 .75 6,011 7 .25 24,513 2 100
$20,000 to $39,999 3 321 11.9 9,993 3 .59 6(,956 6 .41 16,949, 3 100
$10,000 to $19,999 4 311 11.5 4,987 4 .35 9,466 5 .65. 14,453; 7 100
$ 5,000 to $ 9,999 5 302 1\' 11.2 2,696 5; .18 12,179 3 .82 14,875 6 100
$ 2,500 to $ 4,999 6 304 11.2 1,508 7 .09 14,559 2 .91 16,067 5 100
Less than $2,500 7 958 35.4 1,518 6 .09 15,077 1 .91 16,595 4 100


SOURCE: Farm Income Statistics USDA, ESCS, Statistical Bulletin No. 609, July 1978,







decreases with the size of the farm up through the sales class of $20,000 to

$39,999 and then apparently increases. As a result of this negative relation-

ship between net farm income and off-farm income, "total income" per farm

(Col. 11) tends to be rather stable at around $14,500 to nearly $17,000 for

all classes of farms with sales below $40,000. With such information, one might

ask: "Should we concentrate our efforts on farms with the smallest farm sales?"

The answer is: "Yes, if we are interested in farm sales only. But, if we are

interested in net farm income or the welfare of the small farm family (that is,

its total net income), it would seem more appropriate to focus our efforts on

farmers with sales of less than $40,000, since net "total income" is about

equal for all sales classes below this level.

Another definition (which would not require field work) is to define small

farms as those which qualify for Farmers Home Administration and ASCS small

farm assistance. For example Florida's ASCS definition reads:

"A low-income farmer is a farmer who, as determined by the COC, is

a small producer who is largely dependent on the farm or ranch for

his livelihood and whose prospective income and financial resources

for the current year are such that he would not reasonably be ex-

pected to perform needed conservation practices at the rates of

cost-sharing applicable to other farmers and ranchers in the county.

In making such determinations, the COC shall take into consideration

such factors as the size and type of farming operations, estimated

net worth, estimated gross family farm income, estimated family off-

farm income, number of dependents, unusual expenses such as those

resulting from illness, misfortune, or disaster, and other factors

affecting the individual's ability to contribute to the cost of con-

servation practices."I/

1/Payne, Clyde R., State Executive Director, Florida State ASCS Office,
personal letter, Gainesville, FL, dated September 18, 1979.





16

A limitation to such definitions might be the proportion of small farm operators

who do not use Farmers Home Administration and/or ASCS services. The relative

importance of this limitation could be estimated after the 1979 Farm Census is

available.

A small farm definition based on "total net income" would be desirable

from a "family" point of view, but such information is available only through

on site research. Such research would be rather expensive and certainly time-

consuming. Perhaps an even more desirable definition would take into account

the relative size or scale of farming as well as the total family income. These

and creteria for family labor and management input are included in the current

official USDA definition(1):

-- 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, and

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

But this definition, also, would require on-site determination. Therefore,

apparently all USDA publications use the definition of a small farm as one that

usually sells less than $20,000 of farm products annually. Although it can be

used as a guide, it leaves out net farm income and off-farm income.

Thus, a more practical, if not more realistic, approach to a small farm

definition is needed for selecting farms for small farm demonstrations in

Florida. It is suggested that such farms be judged as "typical" of the

specific type (cattle, vegetable, general, ---) of small farms for the

local area by the local USDA agency personnel, local county agents, and

specialists in IFAS.








Review of Small Farm Demonstrations

Small farm demonstrations are not new. They have been a part of Extension

work for years. Other agencies and organizations have also used them. Although

not new, they are usually expensive in dollars and time, which of course have

limited their use. Some examples of results of Small Farm demonstrations in

various states follow(13):

Missouri Over two thirds of the participants realized increased

farm sales and two-thirds used credit compared to 35% of

similar non-participants.

Texas "Net farm income increased an average of 48 percent from

1970 to 1974 for small-scale farmers enrolled. Equally

important, there were substantial increases in the number

of participants who also took advantage of other govern-

ment and Extension programs."

Fourteen Southern States Results of working with 4,543 small-

scale farmers included:

1) an increase in sales of more than $2,000 for 12%

of the small farmers;

2) an increase of between $1,000 and $2,000 for 29%,

and

3) an increase of under $1,000 for 30%.

West Virginia This was initiated in 1970 in two counties, using

Rockefeller funds. It was so successful that as

"Rockefeller funding phased out, the University of West

Virginia assumed full responsibility for the demonstration."

It now operates in nine counties.

Minnesota The results of this "pilot Small Farm Project with pro-

gram 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."

Florida, too, is involved in small farm demonstration. A few examp

follow(3):


les


Jackson County IFAS and Florida A&M teamed up to start a peanut

demonstration and educational program in 1974, which has

continued each year since that time. In 1973, before the

small farmer program began, the small farmers' yields

averaged 1,692 pounds per acre. As a result of using im-

proved practices, yields increased sharply each year, and

in 1978, yields averaged 2,439 pounds per acre. This 747

pound increase over the 1973 yield was worth about $157

per acre. With an average 12 acre allotment increased

income per farm amounted to $1,882.

Gadsden County IFAS and FAMU worked with two small farmers to

demonstrate the value of using improved practices in

vegetable production. In addition to providing very

valuable demonstration to other small farmers, these 1

acre plots were quite profitable to each cooperator.

The farmer with the 1 acre southern pea demonstration

produced 240 bushels valued at $1,400. The farmers

with the 1 acre of okra sold $1,000 worth of okra.

Ripe Tomato Harvesting for Small Farms -

Following several years of testing and development, a

scientist at the Agricultural Research Center at Ft.

Pierce has developed 2 machines which apparently will

make it feasible for small farmers to harvest ripe

tomatoes for marketing. To (1) help test the equipment







and system, and (2) demonstrate the equipment and pro-

cedures, the Community and Rural Development Center in

IFAS has made funds available to (1) help "fix up" the

two machines needed, (2) help finance production and

harvesting the ripe tomatoes, and (3) demonstrate the

feasibility of the whole system. The demonstration

will be carried out during the fall and winter of 1979.


Suggested Small Farm Demonstrations

Due to the sometimes severe limitations of capital, farming knowhow,

managerial ability, and educational levels associated with small farmers in

Florida; and because of IFAS and FAMU successes with using demonstrations

for small farmers, the Florida Rural Development Committee strongly recom-

mends increased use of "Demonstration Small Farms" as a key means of im-

proving, knowhoww", income (thus better living conditions), and involvement

in Community and county affairs of Florida's small farmers.

It seems particularly important that each small farm to be used for

demonstration purposes should be very carefully selected by persons know-

ledgeable of farming and small farms in the area. Selection criteria should

include:

(1) How representative the small farm is of similar small farms

in the area;

(2) Conspicuous location so it can be easily seen from a well

traveled road;

(3) Ease of access for field days, and

(4) The ability and willingness of the small farmer to carry

out the demonstration, including assistance with demon-

strations, and field days.








General Guidelines for Small Farm Demonstrations

Many researchers will say that their research is as applicable to small

farms as it is to large farms. This, of course, is true as far as technical

recommendations on plant and animal nutrition and health are concerned. That

is, the same mix of nutrients is needed by a plant or an animal, regardless

of the size of farm on which it is grown. The biggest differences in needs be-

tween "small" and "large" farms are educational methods and techniques of

application. For example, large farmers arelikely to be much more knowledgeable

about farming and amenable to mass education techniques. Similarly large

farms lend themselves well to aerial spraying for insect control, but such

a method will not work on very small farms. Small beef cattle growers might

not have the large scale up-to-date types of equipment that large ranchers

have, such as large cattle trailers, tractors, gun vaccinating equipment,

scales and working corals and chutes. This is true for many other types of

farms.

Also, due to small lots purchased and sold, small farmers tend to pay

more per unit for supplies and equipment and receive less per unit of pro-

ducts sold.

Thus, it is easily seen that educational methods and techniques for applying

technical recommendations will vary widely with the agricultural knowledge

level of the farmer and size of farm; therefore, it follows that research on

(1) methods of education for small farmers, (2) techniques of application for

small farms, and (3) techniques of purchasing and marketing are all very

important. If so, what educational approaches best fit small farmers? What

techniques best fit small farms? Gaining new information and extending it

along with other improved practices comprise the essentials of a small farm

program. And, experience has shown that demonstration is an excellent

educational tool, especially in cases where step by step advancement in methods








of education are needed, where special or different techniques of application

are required, and where more competitive prices in purchases and/or sales are

needed. It appears that all of these needs are usually common among small

farmers.

For whatever type of farming, the demonstration small farm should be

selected on the basis of how well it fits the following criteria:

(1) The relative need for the demonstration in the geographic

area;

(2) The geographic distribution of demonstrations they should

not all be concentrated in one area;

(3) The availability of professional expertise to help monitor

and carry out the demonstration;

(4) The availability of a typical farm and qualified farmer

for the demonstration; and

(5) Cost of the demonstration and availability of funds.


Examples of Suggested Small Farm Demonstrations

Many suggestions for small farm demonstrations have been received.

of the suggestions are listed below:

1. Demonstration farm in the "persistent low-income area of North

Florida (Holmes, Jackson, Walton, Washington and Calhoun

Counties.

2. Demonstrations for year-round forage in beef production.

(1) Pasture/silage using improved pastures through the

summer and high yield silage for the winter.


Some


(2) Year-round forage production, including native

pastures and winter grasses and legumes.








(3) Reseeding winter annual forage grasses and legumes

for North Florida winter pasture.

(4) Renovation of perennial grasses with the Florigraze

perennial peanut for winter pasture.

3. High profit techniques in swine production, and vegetable

production.

4. Marketing methods for various types of small farms.

5. Growing catfish in raceways.

6. Advantages of cooperative assistance to small farm FmHA

borrowers.

7. Advantages of Cooperatives (farm, health, consumer, etc.)

for small farmers.

8. Feasibility of acidification of irrigation water in

selected areas of North Florida.

9. Advantages of trickle irrigation for selected vegetables.

10. Direct marketing through U-Pic, community markets, and

other channels.

11. Machine harvesting of ripe tomatoes.

12. Blueberries and other fruits for fresh markets.

13. Grape production for fresh market and for wine.

14. Management of non-commercial woodlots for maximum profits

(would include uses of waste as well as other wood products).

15. Using farm biomass for small farm energy needs.

16. Small farm insect control by interplanting crops with plants

which inhibit insect damage.

17. Weed control in small nurseries.

18. Minimum tillage for various types of crops.

19. Nitrogen fixation for small farms.







20. Advantages of soil testing on small farms.

21. Land use based upon soil capabilities.


Selection of Small Farm Demonstrations

Selection of the most appropriate demonstrations would be difficult. A

suggested procedure follows:

Selection would be made by the Small Farm Subcommittee of the Florida

Rural Development Committee after carefully considering the factors listed

previously and after tentative agreements are reached with appropriate

university officials, appropriate federal and state officials and the

appropriate involved private parties. Such a method would help make the

demonstration farm more accurate in its demonstration procedures and more

accessible to persons needing to learn from seeing what can be done on farms

similar to theirs.

The Small Farm Subcommittee of the Florida Rural Development Committee

has suggested that funds for such small farm demonstrations as outlined above,

should be handled through the Center for Community and Rural Development in

the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.

This suggestion was based upon the state-wide responsibility of IFAS and the

Center's integrated approach between research and extension. Any well-

qualified institution of higher education or appropriate federal or state

agency, with expertise for conducting the proposed small farm demonstration

(in pragmatic research and/or extension education) could be funded.


Summary

Whereas:

A national survey shows that 80% of the nation's farmers received a

net income from all sources of less than $17,000 in 1977;





24

And whereas 3 out of 4 of Florida's farmers sell less than $20,000

worth of farm products annually;

And whereas many of Florida's small farmers receive very low total

income;

And whereas many of Florida's small farmers lack the education and

finances needed for earning adequate total family income;

And whereas much valuable information, management skills, and im-

proved practices are available;

And whereas the adoption of these would help the small farmers in-

crease net income;

Be it therefore resolved, that the Florida Rural Development Committee

does hereby recommend:

1. That the State Legislature provide funds annually for demonstrating

to small farmers the advantages of improved management and skills

(1) utilizing'production practices that protect the soil and water

resource base and are compatible with environmental goals, and (2)

in choosing and/or developing systems or techniques that provide

the highest net returns.

2. That (1) all institutions of higher education with major agri-

cultural research and extension programs, and (2) federal and

state agencies with major interest and assistance for small farms

be eligible.

3. That such funds be administered by the Community and Rural Develop-

ment Center in IFAS, University of Florida, which already has a

major small farm program.

4. That selection of small farm demonstration projects be made by a

committee selected by the Florida Rural Development Committee and

IFAS, and approved by IFAS and the House and Senate Agriculture

Committees.




25

5. That selection of small farm demonstrations would be made by the

Small Farm Subcommittee of the Florida Rural Development Committee

after carefully considering the following factors:
(1) The relative need for the demonstration in the geographic

area;

(2) The geographic distribution of demonstrations they

should not all be concentrated in one area;

(3) The availability of professional expertise to help

monitor and carry out the demonstration;

(4) The availability of a typical farm and qualified

farmer for the demonstration; and

(5) Cost of the demonstration and availability of funds.






REFERENCES


(1) Bay, Ovid, Robert Coleman, Edward Moe, Howard Osborn, & Jerry West
The Science and Education Administration's Research And Extension
Programs For Small Farms, prepared for the Subcommittee on Agri-
culture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies, Committee on
Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives, SEA, USDA, March 1,
1979.

(2) Carter, Lawrence C.
Extension Small Farm And Home Gardening Programs, 1976-1977,
Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida A&M and University
of Florida.

(3) Edmond, Clarence D.
Highlights of the Small Farmer Program in IFAS, Center for
Community And Rural Development, Florida Cooperative Extension
Service, IFAS, University of Florida, April 1979.

(4) Hines, Fred K., David L. Brown, and John M. Zimmer
Social and Economic Characteristics of the Population in Metro
and Nonmetro Counties, 1970. Agricultural Economics Report 272,
Economic Resource Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture,
March 1975.

(5) Orden, David and Alfa Trivett, A. Benjamin Rippe, Dennis K. Smith,
and Robert Jensen
Small Farms in Florida, Staff Paper SP-78-7, Department of
Agricultural Economics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University, Blacksburg, February 1978.

(6) Pryor, Shirley
Regional And Residential Impacts Of The Proposed Better Jobs And
Income Program, USDA, Economics, Statistics, And Cooperatives
Service, ESCS-69, August 1979.

(7) Reimund, Donn A.
Status Of The Family Farm, A Report To The Congress, ESCS, USDA,
September 1978.

(8) Ross, Peggy J., Herman Bluestone, and Fred K. Hines
Indicators of Social Well-Being For U.S. Counties, Rural Development
Resource Report 10., Economics, Statistics, And Cooperatives Service,
USDA, 1979.

(9) Young, John A., and Peter Caday
Small-Scale Farming: A portrait from Polk County, Oregon, Department
of Anthropology, Oregon State University, WRDC Paper #2, August 1979.

(10)
Farm Income Statistics, USDA, Economics, Statistics, And Cooperatives
Service, Statistical Bulletin No. 609, July 1978.

(11)
Local Area Personal Income, 1970-1975, National Technical Information
Services, Springfield, Virginia, 1976.








(12)
Remarks prepared for delivery by Secretary of Agriculture Bob
Bergland, before the National Farmers Union Convention, Kansas
City, Missouri, March 12, 1979, USDA, Office of the Secretary

(13)
Research, Extension And Higher Education For Small Farms, Ad
Hoc Committee on Small Farms of the Joint Council on Food and
Agricultural Sciences, USDA, Office of the Secretary, October 1,
1979.

(14)
Rural Development Perspectives, ESCS, USDA, RDP 1, November 1978.

(15)
Rural Development Research And Education, Vol. 1, No. 4, Southern
Rural Development Center, Mississippi State, Miss., Summer 1977.

(16)
Small-Farm Issues: Proceedings Of The ESCS Small-Farm Workshop,
May 1978, USDA, Economics, Statistics, and Cooperatives Service,
ESCS-60.

(17) U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Local
Area Personal Income, 1969-1974, Springfield, Virginia, National
Technical Information Services, 1976.




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