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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1960. Department of Agricultural Economics.


Copyright 1960, the author. Used by permission.


Agriculture functions in a competitive atmosphere.Government programs have not removed, though they have altered, competition in agriculture.Neighbor competes against neighbor, area against area, region against region, and country against country in the markets for agricultural commodities, and in pursuit of socio-economic objectives.Competition in agriculture is evidenced by declining agricultural population and shifts in production between farmers in the same area and in different areas.New techniques of production and specialization of production are becoming more and more common as tools of competition.

It behooves individual farmers to examine their particular situation in relation to their neighbors, immediate and more distant, rural and urban, and thereby to ascertain their potential comparative advantage.For the agricultural economics researcher this environment opens a constantly new field in which to contribute. It is new in the sense of urgency, applicable technology, and prevailing socio-economic factors.It is in this spirit that this study was approached.It is hoped that this study will contribute knowledge of the agricultural potential of the transition area and thereby assist in answering broader issues in its future.

Transition area agriculture is characterized by low farm incomes, highly variable farm incomes, and severe soil erosion.As originally settled, the farm units in the area were of a size adapted to subhumid Corn Belt agriculture.The relatively low and highly variable rainfall of the transition area in Central Nebraska precipitated ensuing readjustments of farm organization.

The desire to readjust agriculture to prevailing conditions is not unique to the transition area of Central Nebraska.Similar needs exist in varying degrees in other parts of the dry subhumid climate area of the United States.Thus, the particular area under consideration for this study, like the general area, is referred to as a transition area, an area of transition from Corn Belt climate to Great Plains climate.

Focus of this study is not necessarily limited to the easement of socioeconomic conditions in periods of below normal rainfall. Rather, it seeks to gain long-term perspective of what agricultural production responses may reasonably be expected in the transition area consistent with the practical application of existent technology.

This study is part of a larger, more comprehensive study initiated by the University of Nebraska Agricultural Economics Department in 1955 under a grant from Resources for Future for the purpose of gaining insight to existing economic and sociological conditions of the transition area.

Advisor: Philip A. Henderson