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Non-household operation of large-scale farmland by household farms and specialized farm households: behavioral logic, operational performance and deviation from policies

SHANG Xudong1 ZHU Shouyin1

(1.Research Center of Modern Agriculture, the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC, the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China)

【Abstract】With rapid development of urbanization and the migration of massive rural labor force, the non-household operation of large-scale farmland by household farms and specialized farm households emerged. It was both logical behavior of the agricultural operators to maximize the total income and a miniature of governmental policies to guarantee steady grain production and cultivate the key force of farmers. In reality, since the operational performance was hard to achieve the expected saving of element input and profits based on scales, large-scale ploughing, sowing and reaping by agricultural machinery, employment-based operation, purchasing agricultural materials at low prices and so on pursued by the non-household operation of large-scale farmland could not compensate for the rising agricultural cost caused by the price premium of transferring large-scale farmland and the ratchet effect of employees' salaries under the Lewis turning point. Meanwhile, some problems during the operation, such as low efficiency of employees, the high supervising cost aggravated the disadvantage as Murphy's Law + Matthew Effect in the non-household operation of large-scale farmland by household farms and specialized farm households. In addition, due to decreases in the rate of land yield, behavioral logic of the operators tended to expand and pursue subsidies from the government against the objective of the governmental policy which was to support their development, guarantee supply of grain and other key agricultural products, which might increase operational risks of the agricultural operators as well as administrative and financial burden of the local government.

【Keywords】 the operation of farmland; the operation of households; behavioral logic; operational efficiency; deviation from policies;


【Funds】 Supported by the specific project of t the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China (NGY2014001) An interim achievement of the project commissioned by the Department of Rural Economic System and Management of the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China (JGS2014wt05)

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    [1]. ① Source: Guidelines on Advancing Development of Household Farms of the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China, http://www.chinalawedu.cx)in/falvfegui/22016/wa20140227135 20880046134.shtml [^Back]

    [2]. ① According to the survey, the salary of temporary employees is subject to production links, busy farming seasons, the number of employees and other factors. The labor price of non- harvest seasons (with working hours of 8–10 hours/day) is about CNY 80–120/day for male employees and about CNY 60–100/day for female employees. [^Back]

    [3]. ① It is worked out by the author from the data of questionnaires submitted by the specialized farm households and household farms from 11 national modern agricultural demonstration zones in the eastern, central and western parts of China. [^Back]

    [4]. ② The data are the mean values of single-season net profits per mu for operational scales over 500 mu in places such as Tengzhou City and Pingdu City Shandong Province, and Yongcheng City, Henan Province. [^Back]

    [5]. ③ It includes direct subsidies for planting grain, subsidies for improved seeds, comprehensive subsidies of agricultural materials. [^Back]

    [6]. ④ For example, the municipal governments of Tengzhou and Pingdu in Shandong provide CNY 100/year per mu of subsidies to the party transferring land in; a certain town-level government of Yongcheng City in Henan provides CNY 200/year per mu of subsidies to the party transferring land in. [^Back]

    [7]. ① Source: http://politics.people.com.en/n/2013/1230/ cl001-23977290.htmL [^Back]

    [8]. ② For example, a lessee of land from Pengwanglou Village, Nanshahe Town, Tengzhou City, Shandong Province absconded for unsuccessful operation. The local government negotiated with the contracting households as land transferors to return the farmland and pay up the rent for the second half of the year. However, most contracting households did not agree but insisted on performing the contract. For rural stability, the town-level government had to take over the case and required the key cadres of the village group where the leased land existed, for which the village cadres had to turn into large households. [^Back]

    [9]. ① Source: Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform. http://news.xinhuanetcom/2013-ll/15/c_118164235.htm; Several Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on the Implementation of New Concepts on the Development and the Acceleration of the Agricultural Modernization for the Realization of the Moderate Prosperity in All Respects, http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/2016-01/27/content-5036698.htm. [^Back]

    [10]. ② For example, for some part-time rural households with a high proportion of non-agricultural incomes in the total household incomes, the operation of farmland is characterized by extensive operation and spare-time agricultural operation and so on. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-1262/F

Vol , No. 12, Pages 4-13+30

December 2015


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Literature review
  • 3 Definition of concepts, key features and behavioral logic
  • 4 Operational performance and deviation from policies
  • 5 Causes for formation
  • 6 Analytical results and general conclusions
  • Footnote