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Local Foods and Farm Business Survival and Growth

Data from the 2007 and 2012 Agricultural Censuses show that farmers who market food directly to consumers have a greater chance of remaining in business than similarly sized farms who market through traditional channels.

While farmers who directly market to consumers are more likely to continue farming than those who do not, their businesses expand at a slower rate.

Differences in farm survival and growth rates for farms that market directly to consumers might be explained by differences in debt-to-asset ratios, farm income risk, labor requirements per dollar of income, or preferences for farm versus nonfarm work.

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