Southeastern Geographer Vol. 21, No. 1, May 1981, pp. 54-63 INTENSITY OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND DISTANCE FROM THE CITY: THE CASE OF THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES Morton D. Winsberg The relationship between agriculture and the city has intrigued social scientists ever since J. Heinrich von Thünen published his theory of agricultural land use in 1826. (I) Von Thünen lived in a period when freight movement was slow and expensive and constituted a large share of total agricultural production costs. These high costs led him to conclude that a farmer's land use decision, or his methods of production, were dictated by distance from markets. Farmers living near cities had a competitive advantage over those more distant and could choose from a wider range of agricultural commodities and cultivation practices. Those who lived near markets and who wished to maximize profits generally chose intensive farming. Farmers who lived farther away selected less intensive types of agriculture, or, if they produced the same commodity, used more extensive techniques. In this century, particularly in the economically advanced nations, transportation systems of such density and efficiency have been built that the share of freight in total production costs has declined. This has put
Southeastern Geographer – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jul 3, 1981
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