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The Hobby Farm

Lawson, Helene M and Sanders, Jennifer and Lawson, Lawrence R (2013) The Hobby Farm. In: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2011, August 2011 - August 2011, San Francisco, CA.

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On the family farm, the romance of farming and emotional ties to the land are in opposition to economic forces that arise from the inherent vulnerability and inefficiency of small scale operations in a market dominated by agribusiness. Some small farmers, however, have developed strategies to keep their farms in business. This paper focuses on how two of these strategies, capitalization on the popular vision of the small farmer and the dual career, combine to affect the fate of farms that can no longer entirely support themselves. These farms tend to evolve into “hobby farms” as they call themselves, marginally commercial farms that have a cheery recreational outward appearance. Most family farms provide a minority of the income of the families that operate them. They are stabilized and sometimes subsidized by their owners’ off-farm occupations. At the same time, the need for farmers to be creative in the production of their work has caused them to seek out niche markets where the small size of their farms is an advantage. In the presence of sufficient off-farm income, they frequently remain as farms retaining their title and acreage but with only minimal output. The small remaining animal herds are often characterized as pets for the family to play with.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lawson, Helene Mlawson@pitt.eduLAWSON
Sanders, Jennifer
Lawson, Lawrence R
Date: 2013
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: American Sociological Association Conference Proceedings, 2011
Event Title: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2011
Event Dates: August 2011 - August 2011
Event Type: Conference
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: family, farm, farm, economy, sense, of, place
Official URL:
Other ID: asa11_proceeding_504139
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2013 17:38
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 19:04


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