Issues: Media Reports

The Community Loses when it Loses Farmers: Impacts of a Changing Local Farmland Market

"The Goldschmidt Hypothesis, which argues that large-scale farms undermine a community’s social-economic well-being, and social capital theory, which holds that broad engagement builds a strong community social fabric, are employed in analyzing the social impacts of agricultural restructuring. Findings indicate that the emerging restructured land market and the consequent increased competitiveness undermine the trust and norms of reciprocity among farmers and between farmers and town-residents. The ideal of “bigger is better” chased by local farmers has the unintended consequence of eroding the historically important community participation of local farmers.

Farmers are now involved in only those activities that directly affect them and less so in activities that broadly contribute to community well-being, such as service clubs. Farmers and townspeople often travel to work which results in the transfer of their shopping, services obtained, and recreational activities from local providers to where they work in the county seat or nearby cities. Both farmers and townspeople report knowing fewer community members than 10 years ago, reflecting a decline in network size, and the regular social interactions indicative of close-knit community. These factors are leading to the decline of the historically interdependent relationship between farmers and their community, and the degrading of a sense of community."

Read Daniela Manhani Mattos dissertation here