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Abstract

The adoption and diffusion of contract farming and vertical integration in modern agriculture has varied widely across regions, commodities, or farm types. This paper lays out a framework for understanding the evolution of organizational practices in U.S. agriculture by drawing on theories of the diffusion of technology and organizational complementarities. Using recent trends as stylized facts, with case studies from various agricultural industries, we argue that research identifying complementarities within specific sectors of the agrifood system will greatly improve our understanding of the organizational structure of agricultural production, and we identify several specific lines of inquiry. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.