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Farming in Wisconsin at the End of the Century: Results of the 1999 Wisconsin Farm Poll
Research Summaries No. 4, March 2000
by Douglas Jackson-Smith, Sunung Moon, Marcia Ostrom, and Bradford Barham

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Farming in Wisconsin has undergone considerable change in the last few decades. While the periodic Census of Agriculture provides some key insights into the long-term trends in the Wisconsin farm sector, the Census asks relatively few questions about a number of important topics. Specifically, there is little information gathered about the use of different agricultural technologies or management practices. In addition, despite the fact that most Wisconsin farms are run as family businesses, there is virtually no information collected about members of the farm household (other than the lead operator) or the household’s involvement in off-farm as well as farming activities. Finally, the Census asks no questions about the opinions or views of Wisconsin farmers concerning important public policy questions. To address this gap, and to understand better the current profile of the remaining farm operations in Wisconsin, the Program on Agricultural Technology Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted a statewide mail survey of over 3,200 farms in the spring of 1999. Approximately half of all eligible farms who received copies of the 1999 Wisconsin Farm Poll returned completed questionnaires.

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