Ntam Baharanyi & Andrei M. Cotton
The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of socioeconomic factors on sustainability of agriculture in the Alabama Black Belt. The portion of the Black Belt of interest to this study consists of 12 counties directly served by the Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension Program and the School of Agriculture and Home Economics. These counties are: Barbour, Bullock, Dallas, Greens, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry, Sumter, and Wilcox.
Specific objectives of this paper are to:
(1) review and discuss the components of an economically sustainable farming system as they relate to limited resource farmers, and
(2) develop a model to assess the sustainability of individual farming systems in the Alabama Black Belt Counties as a function of selected socioeconomic factors.
Variables affecting the economic sustainability of limited resource farmers in the Alabama Black Belt were collected through a survey. These variables were then used to develop the following model:
ES = f(ED, AG, VA, SP, OF)
ES: is the index of economic survivability
ED: is the educational level of the operator and of the immediate family members
AG: is the age of the farm operator.
VA: is the income generated as a result of on-farm processing or product differentiation
SP: is the degree to which the farm operator participates in social, civic, and professional organizations.
OF: is the income received from all sources aside from farm operations.
This model will then be assessed as a Logit probability model. The logit model will be expressed in terms of event probability (the probability of an individual farming system being economically sustainable).
It is expected that this analysis will show that education, value added enterprises, social participation and off-form income, have a significant positive effect on the sustainability and survival of farming in the Alabama Black Belt while age has a negative effect on sustainability.
Demaris, A., "Logit Modeling: Practical Applications," Series: Quantitative Applications in Social Sciences. A Sage University Paper, 1992.
Demissie, E., "Past-Present Conditions and Future Issues in the Black Belt of the South." Focus on Black Belt Counties: Life Conditions and Opportunities. Proceedings of a Preconference of the 50th Annual Professional Agricultural Workers' Conference. Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama, December 5 - 6, 1992.
Return to Table of Contents
Return to Title Page