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Research Reports

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Rural Research Conference 1998  (pdf) A Rural Research Symposium was held on October 21, 1998 at the Memorial Union, NDSU.  The purpose of the symposium was to list the types of applied multidisciplinary, multiuniversity research that was needed for the rural Northern Plains, establish network linkages among researchers and research end-users, explore potential research funding sources, and determine the feasibility of a Center for Rural Studies

Evaluation of Marketplace of Ideas 1999 (pdf)  An evaluation study was conducted on Marketplace ‘99 in January through March, 1999, which included (1) intercept interviews with 311 attendees, (2) a questionnaire of 84 booth participants, and (3) and a telephone interview of 93 financial and in-kind sponsors.

Do New Generation Cooperatives Make A Difference?: Final Report  (pdf),   By Curtis W. Stofferahn, Ph.D..  The presence of prior or contemporary new generation cooperatives had limited effects on measures of community capital. The contemporary new generation cooperatives did appear to have limited effect on human capital by improving the population diversity and attenuating the rise in adjusted cost per pupil, and had a limited effect on financial capital through adjusted value of building permits as a result of new construction. They had no effect on measures of social capital.

Dakota Growers Pasta Company and the Discourse of Conversion Final Report Submitted to Rural Development -- Cooperative Programs United States Department of Agriculture. by Curtis W. Stofferahn, Ph.D..  This report is intended to discern the nature and kinds of arguments used by both proponents and opponents of the conversion of Dakota Growers Pasta Company from a cooperative to a corporation. Three major kinds of needs discourse are employed in this analysis: Expert, op-positional, and reprivatization. Expert discourse is discussed first because it is the discourse presented by the proponents of conversion of the cooperative. Oppositional discourse is discussed next as this discourse arises among opponents to cooperative conversion. Finally, reprivatization discourse is discussed as it arises in response to the oppositional discourse. The report concludes with a summary and recommendations for dealing with threats of conversion.

Industrialized Farming and Its Relationship to Community Well-Being: An Update of a 2000 Report by Linda Lobao Prepared for the State of North Dakota, Office of the Attorney General by Curtis W. Stofferahn, Ph.D. This report is a response to a request from the State of North Dakota to review past social science research on the effects of industrialized farming on community well-being. In this report, a review by Lobao (2000) was updated to 2006 so that the findings of past and recent research on industrialized farming could be systematically documented. The conclusions from fifty six studies (32 detrimental effects and 14 some detrimental effects) examining the consequences of industrialized farming for communities were evaluated. Approximately 82 percent of these studies found adverse impacts on indicators of community well-being. Based on the evidence generated by social science research, we conclude that public concern about the detrimental community impacts of industrialized farming is warranted. In brief, this conclusion rests on five decades of government and academic concern with this topic, a concern that has not abetted but that has grown more intense in recent years, as the social and environmental problems associated with large animal confinement operations have become widely recognized. It rests on the consistency of five decades of social science research which has found detrimental effects of industrialized farming on many indicators of community quality of life, particularly those involving the social fabric of communities. And it rests on the new round of risks posed by industrialized farming to Heartland agriculture, communities, the environment, and regional development as a whole. Community Effects of Industrialized Farming,  Presentation to ND 101, October 2007.

Group Farming, Agricultural Production Cooperatives, and Production Cooperatives Bibliography (pdf) by Curtis W. Stofferahn, Ph.D. A literature review prepared for a production cooperatives project at the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives, North Dakota State University.  Contains abstracts of literature on the following topics: Theoretical Perspectives, Common Property Resource Regimes, Group FarmingFarm Machinery Cooperatives, Agricultural Production Cooperatives, Producers Cooperatives, Informal Labor Sharing

Individualism or Cooperation: Preferences for Sharing Machinery and Labor;Curtis Stofferahn. 2004  Journal of Cooperation 18:1-17. As a result of problems associated with high machinery costs, farmers in the United States are examining group-farming arrangements that permit them to share machinery and labor.  While group-farming arrangements are more frequent elsewhere, they are infrequent in the United States.  The purpose of this research was to determine which social, cultural, economic, and farm structural characteristics influence farmers to support sharing machinery or labor.   The results of the one-way analysis of variance indicated that those who rent more land, have more education, are slightly older, and are more involved in cooperatives would be more willing to share machinery or labor.  In a discriminant analysis, only education and cooperative involvement had any power to classify farmers into those willing and not willing to share machinery and labor.  Finally, in a logistic regression procedure, only acres rented, education, and cooperative involvement significantly predicted willingness to share labor or machinery. 

 The community effects of industrialized farming: Social science research and challenges to corporate farming laws. Linda Lobao and Curtis W. Stofferahn,  Agriculture and Human Values.  Volume 25, No. 2 Summer 2008, 219-240.  Social scientists have a long history of concern with the effects of industrialized farming on communities. Recently, the topic has taken on new importance as corporate farming laws in a number of states are challenged by agribusiness interests. Defense of these laws often requires evidence from social science research that industrialized farming poses risks to communities. A problem is that no recent journal articles or books systematically assess the extent to which research to date provides evidence of these risks. This article addresses the gap in the literature. We evaluate studies investigating the effects of industrialized farming on community well-being from the 1930s to the present. Using a pool of 51 studies, we document the research designs employed, evaluate results as to whether adverse consequences were found, and delineate the aspects of community life that may be affected by industrialized farming. Of these studies, 57% found largely detrimental impacts, 25% were mixed, finding some detrimental impacts, and 18% found no detrimental impacts. Adverse impacts were found across an array of indicators measuring socioeconomic conditions, community social fabric, and environmental conditions. Few positive effects of industrialized farming were found across studies. The results demonstrate that public concern about industrialized farms is warranted. Scholars often debate whether research should be oriented around disciplines accumulated body of knowledge or, conversely, provide critical knowledge in the public interest. Social scientists' long-term engagement in building the body of research on industrialized farming allows for accomplishment of both objectives.

Defining Mission: Calling upon Land Grant Institutions to Serve Rural America in the Twenty-First Century Dean Hulse and Curtis W Stofferahn, Position Paper for the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society.  For nearly a century and a half, many pieces of federal legislation have served as signposts for U.S. land grant universities. Without question, these institutions have evolved in ways that would have been unthinkable to the members of Congress whose votes in the late 1800s and early 1900s established the three-part framework within which agricultural colleges were to function. Conversely, lawmakers who today support legislation such as the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which encourages university-industry alliances, probably believe this evolution is going according to plan. Beyond legislation, external pressures from business, industry, and the overall economy—i.e., funding—are influencing change. Nonetheless, the higher education system bestows upon administrators, researchers, and educators at land grant universities the flexibility and the responsibility to make prudent, moral decisions regarding these public assets. Therefore, the quintessential signpost that land grant university stewards must always keep in sight is the one pointing the way to the greatest public good.