COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio farmers may have varied opinions regarding polices and issues surrounding the 2007 Farm Bill, but they agree that the continuation of farm programs is important to their overall financial stability, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economic survey.
Nearly half of the surveyed farmers stated that their financial situation would be worse off in five years if farm programs were eliminated in the 2007 Farm Bill. Financial expectations related to the Farm Bill were just one of a series of questions that Ohio State University agricultural economists tackled in the 2007 Agricultural, Food, and Public Policy Preference Survey.
The survey was conducted in November and December of 2005 by Carl Zulauf, McCormick professor of Agricultural Marketing and Policy; Barry Ward, Ohio State University Extension agricultural economist; and graduate student Allison Specht, all from the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics. Three thousand Ohio farmers were surveyed; 662 responses were deemed usable for the results. The Ohio survey was part of a national survey commissioned by the Farm Foundation, with 27 states participating.
The following is a breakdown of major findings and significant results:
The goals that farmers most support include: assuring safe, secure and affordable food; reducing dependency on non-renewable energy; and enhancing opportunities for small and beginning farms. Other goals listed are increasing global competitiveness, contributing to protecting the environment and enhancing rural communities.
Zulauf said that the value of a program is closely tied to funding support. For example, a net total of 70 percent of Ohio farmers who receive loan deficiency payments would maintain this program. In contrast, only 3 percent of Ohio farmers who do not receive loan deficiency programs would maintain the loan deficiency program. "Understanding the role of self-interest provides a much deeper insight into what current programs Ohio farmers value."
According to the survey results, Ohio farmers have varied opinions as to whether or not that capitalization is occurring. "It's an interesting result, and could mean a number of things. Perhaps farmers haven't bought land recently and lack that personal experience, or non-farm values, such as urbanization, are driving land values in Ohio," said Zulauf. "For an economist, it's a fascinating finding because there are few, if any, economists out there,who don't believe that a non-trivial portion of farm program payments are being capitalized into land values."
Other survey results worth noting include:
More information about the survey is available online.
SOURCE: Ohio State University news release.