Rural Finance, Capital Constrained Small Farms, and Financial Performance: Findings from a Primary Survey

Topic :

Capital and credit constraints limit the small farm’s ability to adequately use resources for optimum performance. Farmers’ access to capital is constrained in multiple ways, including price factors, risk factors, and transaction factors, as well as access to and ease of rural agricultural financing. Using a primary survey data of small farms in Tennessee, we analyzed factors influencing credit constraint and its impact on farm performance. Farm operators’ gender, off-farm work, land acreage holdings, farm specialization, and the use of smart phone with Internet significantly influenced credit constraint. We found that the financial performance of credit constrained small farmers was significantly lower than that of unconstrained small farmers—an adverse impact of constrained capacity to credit could result in up to $51,000 lower in gross farm sales. Additionally, our reason-specific results within credit constraint suggested that around $32,000 to $39,000 lower performance in gross sales can be attributable to the constrained borrowing with deficit to obtain agricultural loans at required or desired level.

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