The growing dependence of small farm households upon nonfarm income involves important changes in sources of income, in levels and techniques of production, and in assessments of economic well-being. Based on a sample of small-farm households drawn from the four rural development regions of Georgia, this research examines these changes by focusing on household income, tracing patterns of decision-making related to its production, and attempts to evaluate the consequent economic well-being of small-farm households. The primary analytic technique is discriminant analysis, with 28 variables representing three elements of the farming system--the household, the household's resources and farming enterprises. Findings suggest significant differences among the farming systems or patterns of farming of small farm households. Many of these differences are attributable to the relative importance of agriculture in contributing to total household income. The farming system dimension which accounts for the most differences in the processes and outcomes associated with farming is resource characteristics, particularly those characteristics associated with managerial strategies. The finding of no significant differences between farm income-dependent and nonfarm income-dependent households in measures of economic well-being suggests that small-farm households may employ different strategies to achieve the same degree of economic well-being.

Publication Date