Small and Minority Farmers' Knowledge and Resource Sharing Networks, and Farm Sales

Findings from Communities in Tennessee, Maryland, and Delaware

  • Aditya R. Khanal Tennessee State University https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8127-2320
  • Fisseha Tegegne Tennessee State University
  • Stephan J. Goetz Penn State University and Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development
  • Lan Li Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Yicheol Han Korea Rural Economic Institute
  • Stephan Tubene University of Maryland–Eastern Shore
  • Andy Wetherill Delaware State University
Keywords: Farmer Networks, Minority Farmers, Centrality, Small Farmers, Network Analysis, Farm Financial Performance, Specialty Crops, Knowledge Sharing

Abstract

A network analysis can quantify the depth and breadth of a farmer’s relationships with other local farmers, buyers and sellers, or other groups and organizations. Such an analysis can potentially also reveal farmers’ incentives, situations, and behaviors, and it may explain their economic success more generally. This study examines small and minority farmers’ networks using a primary survey in three farming communities. We emphasize networks related to production, marketing, and resource-sharing activities of 127 farmers (nodes) in Tennessee, 46 in Maryland, and 23 in Delaware, and compute three different measures of network importance or “centrality” for each farmer. We then use generalized least squares analysis relating farmer’s age, gender, race, educational attainment, labor use on the farm, and farm location to the farmer’s centrality position or importance in the network, defined by number and strength of links or connections. In additional regression analyses, we find significantly positive effects of the centrality position on farm sales of specialty crops: our model predicts that a farmer who adds one additional link or connection can expect a 19% to 25% increase in sales, all else equal. Our results can potentially be used not only to disseminate information more efficiently, but also to identify farm­ers who would benefit the most from more targeted extension services.

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Author Biographies

Aditya R. Khanal, Tennessee State University

Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture

Fisseha Tegegne, Tennessee State University

Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture

Lan Li, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Agricultural Development Economics Division.

At the time of part of this research, Li was at the College of Agriculture of Tennessee State University, Tennessee, USA.

Yicheol Han, Korea Rural Economic Institute

Han was formerly at Penn State University and the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

Stephan Tubene, University of Maryland–Eastern Shore

Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences

Andy Wetherill, Delaware State University

College of Agriculture-Cooperative Extension Program

Published
2020-04-17
How to Cite
Khanal, A., Tegegne, F., Goetz, S., Li, L., Han, Y., Tubene, S., & Wetherill, A. (2020). Small and Minority Farmers’ Knowledge and Resource Sharing Networks, and Farm Sales: Findings from Communities in Tennessee, Maryland, and Delaware. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(3), 149-162. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2020.093.012