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The characterization of commercial agriculture: a test of the Delphi Expert Opinion Method Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/6w924c39c

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  • Oregon's land use planning program to preserve the agricultural land base and to maintain the agricultural economy is dependent on detailed information concerning the structure of commercial agricultural enterprises. This information is presently incomplete and it was the purpose of this research to test a systematic technique for collecting it. This technique, the Delphi Expert Opinion Method, was developed by the Rand Corporation and basically is a process of structuring communication among selected experts through iterative questionnaires so as to arrive at a final group consensus free of the usual group interaction biases. In order to test the accuracy of the Delphi estimations, a mail-out survey of farm operators was undertaken and a comparison of results made. The Delphi demonstrated an excellent ability to identify qualitative characteristics, such as predominant geographic location and soil types, marketing methods, and location of processors. Its ability to characterize quantitative information ranged from excellent to fair: generally, physical characterics such as farm size, field size, and percentage of leased land were estimated quite accurately; the detailed financial characteristics of initial investments and annual operating costs were less accurate. The research suggests a number of refinements in the technique which should decrease the time of operation and increase the accuracy of estimations.
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