Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

B. R. McManus

Committee Members

William M. Park, David L. Hunter


The primary objective of this study was to investigate the methods used by Middle and East Tennessee farmers to enter dairying. Thirty-nine dairymen were selected and interviewed for case study analysis from six counties in Tennessee. Dairymen were selected based on the time of dairy entry (after 1975) and county extension agent recommendations. A total of thirty-nine beginning dairymen interviews were used for case study research. Each case study situation was categorized according method of farm entry and discussion of advantages and disadvantages of each farm entry method was discussed. Ten beginning farmer categories were designated as: 1) Family Partnerships between Generations 2) Family Partnerships under a Limited Agreement 3) Non-Family Partnership Agreements 4) Family Rental Agreements 5) Family Rental (Rent-Free) Agreements 6) Non-Family Member Rental Agreements 7) Purchasing Farm Assets with Family Assistance 8) Purchasing Farm Assets from Non-Family Members 9) Part-time Dairying with Family Assistance 10) Dairying After Farm Establishment Case study dairymen acquired substantial assistance in order to overcome farm entry barriers. Dairymen involved in family dairy situations participated in family partnerships, rental agreements and farm purchases in order to continue family dairy farm traditions. The families further assisted beginning dairymen by offering monetary gifts, financial advice, signatures on loans, rent free use of equipment and facilities and managerial assistance. Some dairymen, without the benefit of family dairy experience and family assistance, began dairying using rental and partnership arrangements with non-family members. Farm purchases unassisted by family members, were supported through previously acquired equity, low cost seller financing and subsidized farm loans. Dairy farm entry was also accomplished by beginning a dairy enterprise within an existing farm plan, using loans and income from current farm operations. Part-time off the farm employment allowed the farmers to supplement farm income to cover farm operating costs. Farm wives, of the case study dairymen, often provided additional farm labor and supplied off the farm income to support family living expenses.

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