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ERIC Number: EJ869468
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: ISSN-0036-0112
Finding Farms: Comparing Indicators of Farming Dependence and Agricultural Importance in the United States
Jackson-Smith, Douglas B.; Jensen, Eric
Rural Sociology, v74 n1 p37-55 Mar 2009
Many scholars have commented on the changing significance of farming for understanding the dynamics of social and economic change in contemporary rural America. Quantitative analyses of relationships between farming, local socioeconomic conditions, demographic trends, and policy have often relied on an indicator of "farm-dependent" (FD) counties developed by the USDA Economic Research Service. In this article, we argue that measures of economic dependency imperfectly identify the places in the United States where farming is significant, and can paint an incomplete picture of the contemporary geographic distribution and structure of agriculture in the United States. We propose an alternative categorical indicator--agricultural importance (AI)--that provides a better direct measure of the relative size and intensity of farming across diverse U.S. counties. We compare the characteristics of FD and AI counties along a set of dimensions and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each typology. (Contains 5 footnotes, 4 tables and 2 figures.)
Rural Sociological Society. 104 Gentry Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-7040. Tel: 573-882-9065; Fax: 573-882-1473; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A