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Putting the Barn Before the HouseWomen and Family Farming in Early Twentieth-Century New York$
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Grey Osterud

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450280

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450280.001.0001

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The Transformation of Agriculture and the Rural Economy

The Transformation of Agriculture and the Rural Economy

Chapter:
(p.83) 4 The Transformation of Agriculture and the Rural Economy
Source:
Putting the Barn Before the House
Author(s):

Grey Osterud

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801450280.003.0012

This chapter examines how farming families in Broome County experienced and adapted to the transformation of the region's agriculture and rural economy. In the early twentieth century, the rural economy of Broome County was transformed by two interconnected socioeconomic trends: a structural shift toward more specialized, larger-scale agriculture and an emerging pattern in which families combined farming with wage-earning. In what is commonly termed part-time farming, families sent some members to work off the farm—a practice known as off-farm labor—while the rest conducted a range of small-scale subsistence and market-oriented operations on the land. This chapter first provides an overview of the rural depopulation and economic decline in Broome County during the twentieth century before discussing the county's changing rural economy as well as the connections between class position and the utilization of family labor. It shows that class position corresponded with distinctly different patterns of intergenerational and gender relations in rural families.

Keywords:   farming families, Broome County, agriculture, rural economy, farming, wage-earning, off-farm labor, rural depopulation, economic decline, gender relations

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