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Title: The influence of farm size and related social factors on survival and failure in arable and dairy farming in interwar England
Author: Jones, David Edmund
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 5810
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2015
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Small farms disappeared at a disproportionately high rate in interwar England, when compared to large farms. Unnoticed until now, this was coincidental with the dominance of farming and its political agenda by a hegemonic bloc of large-scale farmers and landowners and their supporters; this lobby neglected to demonstrate that it was small farm failure that they were utilising to represent interwar failure across the entire industry. Such continued dominance after the Second World War resulted in the historiography seeing shrinkage of the arable acreages found commonly on large farms as demonstrative of depression in interwar agriculture. Statistics show that large farms were actually better able to withstand agricultural depression. Large-scale farmers in all areas of England decreased their arable acreages voluntarily, moving into dairy production; indeed, historians have, recently, seen dairy farming expansion as showing interwar agricultural success. However, the increased competition and falling milk prices brought failure to the small farms traditionally involved in dairying. Simultaneous creation of Government subsidised smallholdings maintained artificially high numbers of small farms, further increasing competition amongst them and masking their falling numbers. The large farm lobby has attributed interwar agricultural depression to Governments’ lack of financial support; however, it used the social capital attached to ownership of substantial land and capital to influence agricultural policy to favour large-scale farming. The resulting price guarantees for milk and wheat benefited large farms even as disappearance of small farms quickened in pace. Large-scale farmers also profited from the employment of paid labour and from economies of scale, neither of which were available to small farmers. The agricultural hegemonic bloc also attributed agriculture’s problems, volubly and continually, to workers and minimum wage regulation whilst small farmers’ requirements went unheeded, leading to small farm disappearance. These problems of powerlessness amongst small businesses persist to this day.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available