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Are Farmers of the Middle Distinctively 'Good Stewards?' Evidence from the Missouri Farm Poll, 2006

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Forthcoming

24 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2009 Last revised: 14 Jul 2013

Harvey S. James Jr.

University of Missouri

Mary Hendrickson

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences

Date Written: October 14, 2009

Abstract

In this paper we consider the question of whether middle-scale farmers, which we define as producers generating between $100,000 and $250,000 in sales annually, are better agricultural stewards than small and large-scale producers. Our study is motivated by the argument of some commentators that farmers of this class ought to be protected in part because of the unique attitudes and values they possess regarding what constitutes a “good farmer.” We present results of a survey of Missouri farmers designed to assess farmer attitudes and values regarding a variety of indicators of farmer stewardship, such as the most important issues in agriculture, environment, and treatment of farm animals, perspectives on the past and future of agriculture, and ethical behavior. We find little evidence that farmers-of-the-middle are particularly noteworthy in these regards. We do find evidence, however, that middle-scale farmers are more pessimistic and anxious about their role in the future of agriculture.

Keywords: Farmers of the middle, good farmer, agrarianism, farmer attitudes and values

JEL Classification: O13, O18, Q01

Suggested Citation

James, Harvey S. and Hendrickson, Mary, Are Farmers of the Middle Distinctively 'Good Stewards?' Evidence from the Missouri Farm Poll, 2006 (October 14, 2009). Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1489000

Harvey S. James Jr. (Contact Author)

University of Missouri ( email )

146 Mumford Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-884-9682 (Phone)
573-882-3958 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://hsjames2.wordpress.com/

Mary Hendrickson

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences ( email )

200b Gentry Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-882-7463 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://maryhendrickson.wordpress.com

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