Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Luther H. Keller

Committee Members

T. J. Whatley, D. G. Paris, R. S. Dotson


A number of agencies in the field of agriculture are problem oriented in that their major objective is to help farmers develop systems of farming that will provide satisfactory incomes and levels of well-being. The persistence of low incomes in the Southeast emphasizes the need for adjustments in resource use patterns on many farms to attain this goal.

Most farms are organized on the basis of experience and observations of the individual operator. The operators have remained in the area or region in which they received their experience and education. Therefore, by nature and training these operators are inclined to follow well-established resource-used methods peculiar to their area and are conservative in risk-taking situations. Demonstrations and first hand knowledge of experiences of other farmers are two of the most effective means of promoting adjustments in farm programs. Information of this nature is useful material for agricultural leaders working directly with farm people since it is based on, and represents, actual experiences of farm families.

It is recognized that farm organizations depend on a number of conditions at any given time such as available capital, technology, individual abilities including health and mental attitudes, equity in the farm business, objectives in farming, price relationships, personal preferences, and knowledge of farming. It is a change in one or more of these conditions, over time, that gives rise to a need for adjustments in the farm organization. More capital becomes available through savings, new methods, of production re developed, a farmer’s goals change with increasing age and deterioration of physical abilities, prices rise and fall at different rates, new markets are developed and old markets cease to function; it is the function of the farm manager to adjust or not to adjust to these changing conditions.

The needs for improving managerial abilities, improving efficiency, and adjusting operations to change are not a matter of choice, but rather a necessity for farmers who hope to continue to receive satisfactory incomes from operations. Many successful farmers of a few years ago are no longer successful because of failure to adjust to changing conditions.

Even the well-informed modern farmers are likely to have their businesses upset by invention and technological developments, which render investments in machinery, buildings, and equipment obsolete and their existing knowledge more or less out-of-date.

Thus it is important to know more about the nature of changes which farmers are continually experiencing and the subjects about which farmers need to learn.

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