Why farmers quit: A county-level analysis

Stephan J. Goetz, David L. Debertin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


We identify the effects of alternative explanatory variables on the propensity of U.S. farmers to cease farming, with a particular emphasis on understanding the roles of off-farm employment and federal farm program payments. Conventional ordinary least squares analysis using all counties suggests that off-farm employment has no statistical effect on the (net) number of farmers quitting between 1987 and 1997, ceteris paribus. A more refined analysis, which separates counties losing farmers from those that gained farmers, reveals subtle and less clear-cut effects of off-farm employment (and federal program payments) on farm exits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1010-1023
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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