Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Cornhusker Economics, August 9, 2000,


Copyright 2000 University of Nebraska.


Not long ago in 1998, Doug Jose and I conducted 16 focus group interviews with a diverse set of beginning farmers across the state, to learn about the main constraints and opportunities for beginning farmers. Despite the diversity, a common thread seems to run across the fabric of these farmers: a strong goal to have the country lifestyle and independence. Almost all the farmers expressed a severe resource crunch. Two thirds of the producers that were interviewed expressed that they were struggling to make a decent living on the farm, netting at least $ 35,000 per year. As an economist, I began to think of a possible universal solution for all these resource strapped producers who just loved to farm. The solution I arrived at was fuzzy and unconfirmed until I read the book “The Origin of the Entrepreneurial Species,” by Dr. Amar V. Bhide (Oxford University Press).