Date of Award

8-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Economics

Committee Member

Scott R Templeton, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Robert Fleck

Committee Member

Babur De Los Santos

Abstract

Irrigation adoption can improve the yield and frequency of use of crop land, therefore increasing the quality and output of irrigated farms. With the expectation of water shortages out West, as well as an increasing population in the U.S., there is a greater opportunity for farmers in the Southeast to supply agricultural products, such as food and fiber. The proportion of farmers who irrigate, the proportion of farmland that is irrigated, and irrigated land's share of the area of farms that irrigate in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the five-state region of the Southeast are used to describe the trends from 1997-2017. Additionally, I use a fixed effect logistic model to estimate the effects of demographic and economic variables that might influence the proportion of a county's farmers who irrigate. All state and county data used in the descriptive and analytical sections were obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture, published in the respective year's Census of Agriculture. Irrigation in the Southeast increased from 2012 to 2017 for all three proportions used. Further, in the county-level logistic model, the proportion of female farmers, the proportion of farmers whose primary occupation is not farming, the proportion of farmers over the age of 65, and the average farm's dollar value of machinery assets all significantly affect the proportion of farmers who irrigate.

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