An analysis of the off-farm work behaviour of entering farm operators in the Prairie Provinces

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Kapitany, Marilyn Joan Magill.
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Governments in Canada have expressed concern that the future supply of entering farm operators will not be adequate to ensure production of food and fiber at the family farm level. Policies have been instituted by both federal and provincial governments to aid operators to enter agriculture and to maintain the occupation of farmer. Several authors have suggested that entry into agriculture has become difficult because financial barriers to entry have been rising relative to farm incomes, and that off-farm work by the operator represents a potential solution to this problem. This suggestion constitutes the primary focus of the thesis... The object of this thesis is to increase information about the work behaviour of entering farm operators in order to analyze the factors which influence their decision to work off the farm. Specifically, the objectives are: 1. to summarize information on entry into agriculture and on part-time farming. 2. to develop a conceptual model to analyze the off-farm work behaviour of entering farm operators in the Prairie provinces; and 3. to draw conclusions from the background information and the analytical model. Two models are developed from the theories of the supply of and demand for labor and from Bollman's kinked demand for labor curve... The major conclusion from the multivariate analysis is that work decisons of entering farm operators reflect opportunity cost rather than financial compulsion... The final conclusion, based on descriptive statistics, is that there are significant differences between entering and establishing farmers. Entering farmers are: more likely to work off the farm, younger, and better educated. They also have less fixed capital (land, machinery and livestock) and a lower level of output than established farmers. This implies that policies which influence these factors will impact differently on entering and established farmers.