Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Luther Keller

Committee Members

Joe A. Martin, Robert M. Ray, Ben R. McManus


Drastic changes in the agricultural economy have taken place during the last two decades. Increased productivity of agricultural labor and declining profit margins for many farm products have contributed to a considerable disparity between farm and nonfarm incomes. The income disparity continues in spite of large net migration of farm family workers and farm operators into nonfarm employment and significant decreases in farm numbers.

The number of farm family workers in Tennessee decreased by 37.3 per cent from 1954 to 1959. The adoption of improved technology, particularly mechanization, has enabled the remaining farm labor force to be used more productively upon farms of greater acreage. The number of farms in Tennessee decreased from 247,600 in 1940 to 154,000 in 1964, a cumulative change of 38 per cent, while the decrease in total acres in farms was 12 per cent. Concurrently, the average acreage per farm in Tennessee has increased from 75 in 1940 to 102 in 1959 and to 105 acres in 1964.

The average size of farm in Tennessee increased approximately 24 per cent from 1950 to 1959. However, average size of all farms in the United States increased 40 per cent, from 215.6 to 302.4 acres, from 1950-59. Tennessee farmers have failed to increase output as compared to United States farmers. The value of agricultural products sold per farm in Appalachian counties of Tennessee was less than 25 percent of the national average in 1950 and slightly over 27 per cent of the national average in 1960. For all farms in Tennessee the average value of farm products sold in 1959 was approximately 37 per cent of that for all farms in the United States.

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