Tennessee's small farmer marketing problems: Evidence on the mitigating effects of agricultural cooperatives

Oladayo O Omosa, Tennessee State University


Small farm constituted 91 percent of the total farms in the US; their value of products is about 25 percent when compared with large farms and very large farms. Small farms have been facing a number of problems over the years that continue to challenge their viability. The marketing of farm produce through agricultural cooperatives have established direct contacts with buyers in order for small farmers to obtain better prices. This research identified marketing problems faced by Tennessee small farmers, described the marketing role of agricultural cooperatives and assessed the impact of agricultural cooperatives on marketing of produce. This was done using a well-structured questionnaire as the instrument of data collection which was sent electronically to 250 small farmers in Tennessee. Primary and secondary data collected were subjected to qualitative and quantitative techniques including frequency analyses, means, variance and standard deviations. Chi-squared tests of significance were used in determining the level of associations between selected variables. Regression analysis was applied to data in evaluating the relationships between the percentage change in sales as a result of membership in a cooperative and selected variables. It was found from the surveyed data, that the major marketing problems faced by Tennessee small farmers included: Inaccessibility to market and Inability to obtain premium pricing. Inaccessibility to market is the major problem faced by Tennessee small farmers. Additionally, Agricultural cooperatives were not popular among Tennessee small farmers. Majority of Tennessee small farmers who responded to this survey did not use agricultural cooperatives. A small percentage of study participants used agricultural cooperatives for buying and selling. This study established the effects of belonging to cooperatives in the marketing of Tennessee agricultural products. It also established a relationship between farmers profile and belonging to cooperatives. Results from this study also provided policy makers at the state level in the formulation of their agricultural marketing policies.

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Recommended Citation

Oladayo O Omosa, "Tennessee's small farmer marketing problems: Evidence on the mitigating effects of agricultural cooperatives" (2015). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1592031.