An economic analysis of enterprise combinations on farms in the Willamette Valley Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vx021h01j

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  • Questionnaires were mailed to farmers in six counties of the Willamette Valley requesting the kind and size of enterprises and the gross income received from the enterprises on each farm. Enterprises were defined both as general livestock or crop categories and as individual crop or livestock enterprises. Two computer programs were used to determine all the possible enterprise combinations and the number of times each occurred on the sample farms. Regression analysis was used to determine the economic relationships between enterprises in the predominant combinations. Livestock and hay, and grain and hay were each complementary combinations regardless of the size of the enterprises. Livestock and grain were complementary on farms with less than 38 acres of grain, and supplementary on farms with more than 38 acres. Hay was competitive with grass seed, livestock supplementary, and on farms with less than 120 acres of grass seed, grain was a complementary enterprise. When more grass seed was planted, grain became competitive. Small fruit and vegetables were supplementary enterprises, and clover seed was a complementary enterprise with grain and hay. Farms within the counties tended to combine enterprises in different ways, with the result that few enterprise combinations were found on a significant number of the sample farms. Significant combinations on Benton County farms were barley and wheat, and sheep and barley. Farms in Clackamas County which had strawberries, often had blackberries or raspberries, and alfalfa was usually grown with dairy or wheat. Farms in Linn County had rye grass in combination with wheat, feeders, tall fescue, and/or other seed crops. Marion County farms with sweet corn, pole beans, bush beans, or blackberries usually had strawberries, and wheat was often found with barley, feeders, alfalfa, sweet corn, and strawberries. Farms in Polk County which had barley and wheat usually raised sheep, oats, and/or alfalfa. Also, cherries and prunes were often found together. Enterprise combinations were the same on many of the farms in Yamhill County. Alfalfa, sheep, oats, clover hay, and/or clover seed were often found with the combination of barley and wheat, which was found on 65 percent of the sample farms. Conclusions reached in this study were that farmers in the Willamette Valley combine enterprises in such a way that risk and uncertainty are reduced through diversification, but not to the extent that enterprise competition for farm resources significantly reduces long run net farm income.
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