Rural Land Tenure in the United States: A Socio-Economic Approach to Problems, Programs, and Trends

By Alvin L. Bertrand; Floyd L. Corty et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTEN
Changing Ecology
of Land Tenure Systems

Introduction

THE ECOLOGY OF land tenure systems refers to the relationship between land tenure systems and the environment in which they appear. In a broad sense environment includes both physical and cultural settings. This chapter shows how tenure patterns and forms vary in response to environmental conditions found in the different regions of the nation.

The large ranch-type farms in the West are in direct contrast to the small family-type farms in the Appalachian region of the East. Likewise, the arid and semiarid conditions of the West prescribe special moisture conserving farm practices far different from farming techniques observed in the more humid sections of the nation. The daily routine associated with the popular dairy enterprise in the Northeast is noticeably absent in the highly seasonal farming of the wheat belt, and cotton culture in the South varies appreciably from the farming patterns observed in the corn belt.

Farms in the United States, whether operated by owners or by tenants, vary greatly in character from one section of the country to another. In fact, neighboring farms can differ appreciably in size, type of farming, resource use, and profitability. Despite these variations, however, there appears to be a definite relationship between the rate of farm tenancy and type of farming. Areas of high tenancy are found to predominate in areas of specialized cash-crop production, namely in the South and North Central areas.

Although specialized farming areas do not conform exactly to the geographic divisions used in reporting agricultural census data, it is surprising how well the specialized farming regions conform to the major geographic divisions.

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