In Thompson, PB and DM Kaplan, editors. 2014. Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics. Springer Science+Business Media, Dordrecht, Netherlands.
This entry focuses on ethical issues associated with the decline and potential renewal of mid‐sized farms and ranches in the U.S. The “disappearing middle” was first identified in the 1980s. Contemporary attention to the dynamics of this declining farm sector is accompanied by strategies for renewing an “agriculture‐of‐the middle.” A national Agriculture of the Middle Initiative posits a three‐fold approach to rebuilding the middle sector of the U.S. farm and ranch structure through: new business and marketing strategies, particularly those identified as “values‐based” food supply chains; public policy changes; and research and education support.
Ethical considerations focus on five areas: 1) diversity, resilience, competition and opportunity in agriculture; 2) fairness and equity through the supply chain; 3) consumer choice and control; 4) environmental stewardship and ecological health; and 5) rural vitality.
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