Farmer, Entrepreneur, Soil Scientist, Mechanic, Vet...That’s you!

Christine Anderson Brekken, Applied Economics, OSU Small Farms Program
Publish Date: 
Winter 2016
VolNo: 
Vol. XI No. 1

We know farmers wear many hats. Tell us about them! OSU’s School of Public Policy and Applied Economics Department are involved in a USDA-funded, national survey to learn how farmers choose their production and marketing practices and the barriers they face.

Early results from the survey confirm that farmers have to be canny entrepreneurs, whether they market at local, regional, and/or national scales.

Respondents have been farming for 5 years on average, although one of you has been farming since 1847—we bet that’s how long the farm has been in the family! Speaking of age, respondents are evenly distributed from young adults up to age 64. Only 10% of respondents are certified organic, but a large number are no-spray or use organic practices but without being certified. Your motivations are personal: 93% said that they choose production practices because they align with your values. Many also are motivated by higher profits, but only 20% have changed practices specifically for marketing opportunities. You seek advice and support from fellow farmers and university extension services (for example, the OSU Small Farms Program). We’d love to delve deeper into this dynamic. If you’ve already taken the survey, many thanks!

If you still haven’t, we’d love to hear from you. The project is a partnership between OSU, University of Vermont, and City University of New York.

Take the anonymous survey