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family farms, rural sociology, south dakota farms, farm tech


We are living in times of rapid change in agriculture and in rural America. Interstate highways, livestock confinement systems, pesticides, fourwheel drive tractors and personal computers are innovations that did not exist or were seldom seen 30 - 35 years ago. Rural America has changed a great deal from the time I was raised on a 320 acre Nebraska farm, driving 25 hp. Ford SN tractors, and going to a one-room country school! In times of rapid changes, many people are concerned about the future of agriculture and family farms. Today, I will share with you my perspectives on the topic: Family Farms: Forces Shaping Their Future. First, I will discuss the changing concept of a "family farm". Second, I will present four major forces that have major impacts on family farms in all industrialized, developed nations and discuss how these forces have changed the structure of agriculture. Third, I will discuss key findings from a multi -disciplinary study of "successful farms and successful farm families" in South Dakota.


Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

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