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Dynamics of Entry and Exit on Wisconsin Dairy Farms in the 1990s
Fact Sheets No. 14, June 2001
by Douglas Jackson-Smith and Bradford Barham

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Research conducted by the Program on Agricultural Technology Studies (PATS) has indicated that, in conjunction with the decline in Wisconsin’s dairy farm numbers, remaining dairy farms have tended to increase gradually in size. While the tendency toward growth in the average size of dairy herds is indisputable, the general analysis of structural change has tended to neglect the underlying dynamics of change, which can lead to an overstated emphasis on dairy herd expansion as the predominant structural trend in the Wisconsin dairy industry. Aggregate structural change is, in fact, a result of the combined impact of three processes: the organization of existing farms, the characteristics of entering farmers, and those of exiting farmers.

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