Where Have All the Direct-Marketing Farms Gone?
Patterns Revealed from the 2017 Census of Agriculture
Food system researchers and practitioners have used the U.S. Census of Agriculture historically as a bellwether to measure changes in the direct-marketing sector. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has made considerable improvements in measuring this sector in recent years, which formed the basis for the phrasing of the 2017 Census of Agriculture direct-marketing questions. While the new questions make it challenging to infer direct-marketing trends between 2012 and 2017, the 2017 Census of Agriculture data nonetheless reveals a considerable decline in the number of farms selling directly to consumers and wholesalers in the U.S. We discuss possible explanations for this decline and implications for the direct-marketing sector.
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