Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Raymond Daniel

Committee Members

Merton B. Badenhop, B.R. McManus, F.F. Bell


The objectives of this study were to determine (1) what factors are associated with lime manufacturing and distribution and farmer informational agencies that influence the farmers' usage of lime and (2) farmers’ attitudes and characteristics associated with their use of lime.

The data were obtained by personal interview with 21 lime manufacturers and vendors in East Tennessee and by use of structured questionnaires that were mailed to 1,500 farmers in Anderson, Bradley, Hamilton, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Meigs, Rhea, and Roane Counties of Tennessee. Fifteen percent of the mail questionnaires were returned completed. The following East Tennessee counties were, therefore, designated as high lime use counties based on this percent of need of lime used: Loudon, McMinn, Meigs, and Rhea. The farmers in these counties appeared to be utilizing more lime than were the farmers in the remaining five counties (Hamilton, Bradley, Roane, Anderson, and Knox) designated as the low lime use area.

The data on lime manufacturers and vendors were used to describe the lime industry in the above East Tennessee counties. Both multiple regression and tabular analysis were used in analyzing the farmer mail questionnaires.

Significant differences were found to occur in the percentage of cropland limed by farmers in these two basically similar farming areas of the Tennessee Valley in East Tennessee. However, it was not possible to ascertain specific reasons for these differences based on an analysis of the firms involved in marketing and distribution of lime or on an analysis of differences in selected socioeconomic characteristics of farmers in these two areas.

Even though reasons for the differences in lime use between the two areas could not be determined,' the following conclusions relative to the factors influencing the supply and demand for lime in the combined nine-county area were possible.

The structure of the lime industry in this area of East Tennessee is comprised of several different types of manufacturers and vendors. The agricultural lime business is a sideline for the manufacturers and only one of many activities carried on by the vendors. Lime represents on the average about 7 percent of the gross sales of quarry operations in this area. Farmer-vendors were the most common type of lime distributor.

An information system in the lime industry which would be responsible for acquainting farmers about the use of lime is nonexistent. Limited advertising is done by vendors to promote lime sales. It also appears that neither lime vendors nor all farmers have made any effort to contact agricultural informational agencies as to sources of educational material nor have they been informed as to the need or profitability of using lime in this area. Around 33 percent of all full- and part-time farmers did not know why lime was used. Also, around AO per cent of all farmers in the area indicated that it was not profitable to use lime in their area.

Farmers in this area of East Tennessee would also benefit from checking with several different types of lime vendors before purchasing lime. Lime prices in the area varied from a low of $3.75 to a high of $5.00 per ton for delivery and spreading.

It appeared that one method of increasing lime use in this area would be to encourage farmers to have soil tests made on their farms. Farmers in this study who utilized soil tests limed a significantly higher percentage of their cropland.

Although farmers with at least one year or more of college appear to have more knowledge concerning lime, around 30 percent of these farmers were still unaware that lime was used to reduce acidity nor did they feel lime was profitable. The most critical problem with respect to lack of knowledge concerning lime involves hobby farmers and non farming landowners in this area of East Tennessee. About one-half of these individuals did not know that lime was used to reduce acidity nor did they consider lime to be profitable in their area.

The following socioeconomic variables were found not to be significantly related to the percent of cropland limed by farmers within this nine-county area of East Tennessee: age, farm acreage, rental agreement, gross farm sales, lime prices, customer satisfaction, or distance from source of lime.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."