Rootin’ Tootin’Rootin’ Tootin’
Von ThunenVon Thunen
What factors matter whenWhat factors matter when
you choose to farm? Whereyou choose to farm? Where
farm? Why?farm? Why?
Topography: Sloped or flat lands- easy to irrigate
Climate: (most important)
LET’S LOOK AT GREECE
What do you know aboutWhat do you know about
Greece (P/C)?Greece (P/C)?
What are the other factorsWhat are the other factors
besides Physical/climate?besides Physical/climate?
Cultural FactorsCultural Factors
Horse meat: nutritious (taboo in U.S.)
Algerians and wine
Political FactorsPolitical Factors
Colonization and plantations
Gov finance of types of ag: new tech, certain product
Government and culture (French and wine!)
EU/US and farm subsidies
An agricultural subsidy is money paid to farmers and agribusinesses to
supplement their income, manage the supply of agricultural
commodities, and influence the cost and supply of such commodities.
Economic factorsEconomic factors
Cost of land/taxes
Cost of machines
Cost of fertilizer/etc
Distance from market (shipping costs)
Johann Heinrich vonJohann Heinrich von
German alive during 2nd Agricultural Rev.
Saw geographic pattern that seemed to emerge from
creates model that explains and predicts agriculture
land use patterns
Von Thunen’s ModelVon Thunen’s Model
The Isolated State (1826)
Isolate certain variables:
All soil, terrain and climate is the same (Isotropic)
Only one market/city
State (country is isolated- no trade)
What mattered then to farmers?
Factors that matter to VT...Factors that matter to VT...
Land CostLand Cost
Transportation CostTransportation Cost
What was his theory?What was his theory?
Concentric Rings of
ag. activity surround a
Each ring is different
type of ag.
Pattern is intensive to
Ring 1: Market gardeningRing 1: Market gardening
and Dairyand Dairy
Why near city?
Can afford high rent
Ring 2: ForestRing 2: Forest
(run Forest run)(run Forest run)
Need for Construction
Need for fuel
Ring 3: Various CropsRing 3: Various Crops
and Grainsand Grains
What crops grown
closest to Market
(within 3)? furthest?
Crops with the highest
market price and the
Ring 4: Livestock RanchingRing 4: Livestock Ranching
of land...land is
cheaper in Ring 4
After Ring 4:
VT TodayVT Today
1) Market gardening (truck farming): specialize in non-tropical fruits, veg. and
2) Dairy: we know
3) Livestock fattening/grain: grain for livestock...cattle/pigs
-3/4 of cropland in W. Europe devoted to animals
-90% in Denmark
Although livestock-grain farms work land intensively, the value per unit is less
than a truck farm...hence further from city
4) grain: Wheat
-Capital needed: planting and harvesting machinery
Here’s how VT would
Avg sized farm in ND is 1300 acres.
intensive commercial ag.
close to the market...
farms may average 40
acres or less.
VT in USAVT in USA
# Figure A represents what the
agricultural land use would be if
the most basic assumptions were
applied, namely the market
located at New York (or
Bosnywash), crops being ranked
by comparative rent paying
abilities and considering
characteristics. Although this
representation has some level of
concordance with reality, it
inaccurately portrays agricultural
land use in the United States.
VT in USAVT in USA
# Figure B includes one
supplementary assumption that
considers climate variations,
where the north is colder than the
south. This constraint has a
significant impact on agricultural
land use as even if for a location
a crop would have a higher rent
paying ability, another crop would
be grown because climatic
conditions forbids it. The resulting
agricultural land use has a much
higher level of correspondence