Richard O. Omotoye Ravi Chinta Venkatapparao Mummalaneni Patrice Y. Perry-Rivers


We present empirical findings on the problem of low participation rate of Limited Resource Farm Producers (LRFPs)[1] in USDA programs. Our analysis is based on survey data directly sourced from LRFP population spread across twenty counties in Southern Virginia. The findings revealed that familiarity with and participation in USDA programs varied by type of farmers. While familiarity was moderate, participation was low. These main effects were moderated by access to capital. Our results broadly agree with findings from similar studies done on the subject in the past with an additional empirical insight that access to capital can enhance participation in USDA programs. We conclude the study with several practical ways for improving LRFP participation in USDA agricultural programs[i] According to the USDA, a Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher or Forest Owner is a person/applicant with direct or indirect gross farm sales not more than $173,600 (for FY2016) in each of the previous two years AND a person with a total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of four or less than 50 percent of county median household income in each of the previous two years. An entity or joint operation can be an LRFP if all individual members independently qualify.