By M. J. Stabler (auth.)
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Extra info for Agricultural Economics and Rural Land-use
IV. Market structure changes - although examined under short-run pricesupport measures, certain market policies are intended to improve agricultural efficiency. Two of the most favoured measures are those which attempt to raise farm incomes by reducing the costs of moving food products from the farmer to the consumer, and those making agriculture more competitive. Integration, co-operatives and marketing boards are alleged to achieve both these aims with the threat of intervention by governments where there might be the elements of monopoly.
Johnson  has likened the problems of diversification in agriculture to investment portfolio selection (see also Markowitz  in a much earlier and general study). Work on flexibility of enterprises and diversification suggests that smaller farmers would benefit as risks would be spread as well as allowing a margin of safety where uncertainty exists. This is at odds with other pressures which are moving agriculture towards specialisation in larger units and increased capitalisation through technical change.
Rocessing and distribution. The study of margins reveals that the percentage of the final price of commodities accruing to the farmer has steadily declined. The inference, then, is that processing and distributive margins have increased, but there is no evidence to support this argument. There is a wealth of data in the United States on margins at the various stages of distribution and a number of studies have been undertaken in the United Kingdom on particular markets, notably meat, eggs, and milk , , , .
Agricultural Economics and Rural Land-use by M. J. Stabler (auth.)