Middle Farmers Struggling for Stability
Small farmers sell their goods at farmers markets, while large farmers participate on a more global scale. But MU's research shows that farmers in between, like Martz, are more likely to feel like they don't have control over their economic situation.
"These farmers are very, very stressed. They don't feel like their economic opportunity has been very good in the past five years, and they really don't see much improvement in the next five years," MU researcher Mary Hendrickson said.
The study also found that situations like this can raise some ethical issues.
"They don't think their quality of life is going to be very good in the future because of their economic conditions, and this causes them to be more tolerant of certain activities in agriculture that both small and large farmers are less tolerant of," Hendrickson said.
The researchers will present their findings to legislators with the hope that it will encourage policies that will benefit middle farmers. They plan to conduct their study again in a year to see if their findings change.