Date of Award

1982

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Abstract

This study provides an economic profile of small vegetable producers in Northeast Louisiana, develops enterprise budgets for selected vegetable crops, analyzes several resource situations and determines, via a linear programming model, the optimal resource allocation to different enterprise combinations for tiller and tractor technology. Labor available in specific time periods was found to be the most restrictive resource in all situations for both technologies. However, the proportion of annual available labor used was not higher than 30 percent in any case. As more land for vegetable production was made available to tiller technology farmers, net returns increased considerably but returns per hour of labor remained almost unchanged. For tractor technology farmers, as more land was made available, net returns per acre did not increase significantly. Net returns per acre to land, management and overhead for farmers using tiller technology were higher than for those using tractor technology when land was considered a cost rather than a residual claimant. Tractor technology farmers made more efficient use of the labor resource. On the other hand, when returns were maximized to land, family labor, management and overhead, tiller technology farmers made more efficient use of the labor resource. Spring and fall cucumbers, summer and fall squash, spring snapbeans, tomatoes and okra were found to be reasonably sensitive to price changes for the tiller technology group. For the tractor technology group, all the above crops plus field peas, sweet corn, and bell peppers were found to be sensitive to price changes. Expansion possibilities for both local and outside markets were analyzed. On the assumption that small farmers in the area would optimize acreages, as determined by the LP model and with the use of demand elasticity coefficients, it was determined that fall squash, tomatoes and bell peppers may have some opportunities for expansion at the local level. As for expansion possibilities to outside markets, wholesale prices at the New Orleans market are well below those price levels at which production of the different crops would be either substantially reduced or even terminated.

Pages

211

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