Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Joe A. Martin

Committee Members

Charles L. Cleland, James G. Snell


The increase in net income per farm in Tennessee has not kept pace with the rate of increase occurring in other Southeastern states in recent years. Tennessee's percent increase in net income per farm from 1954 to 1964 was only 24 percent, which was quite low when compared to the 150 percent increase that occurred in Mississippi. The primary purpose of this study was to determine some of the causes of Tennessee's lag.

The changes that occurred in eight Southeastern states in gross sales, farm acreage, cost, and the combination of crop and livestock products produced were examined to determine the relationship between these trends, and net income per farm. Rank correlation was used to measure the degree of relationship. Stepwise multiple regression was used to measure the relationship between the variability in net income and changes in enterprise. The data were secured from the Census of Agriculture, Agricultural Statistics, and Farm Income, States Estimates. The analysis revealed that several factors appear to have influenced Tennessee's slow rate of increase in net income. Most important was the fact that Tennessee lagged in its rate of increase in gross returns per farm. This was evident from its slowest rate of increase in gross receipts per farm of any state and was influenced by its slow increase in farm size. This slow rate of growth from 1954 to 1964 in Tennessee was accompanied by the largest increase of any state in the percent that cost occupied of gross receipts.

Enterprise shifts appear to have had an important effect on net farm income. Enterprise shifts in Tennessee have moved generally toward small increases in those enterprises that experienced rapidly increasing returns per man hour and rapid increases in enterprises that experienced the smallest increases in returns per man hour. These shifts were also away from those enterprises which were correlated to net income increases and toward those enterprises that were not correlated to net income increases.

Tennessee lies in the northern portion of the study area, which did not experience the expansion in farm size and shifts in enterprises that the southern area did. The northern area was limited in its expansion process by large acreages of tobacco which appeared to tie labor to a small farm size and prevent expansion into other enterprises. The northern area was also limited in the quantity of land available in the Appalachian Area for expansion into high return row crops.

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