Although formal social impact assessment of changing technologies in U.S. agriculture is still in its infancy, scholars have been documenting the effects of new technology throughout the twentieth century. In this collection, Prcfessors Berardi and Geisler bring together historically relevant research and a carefully chosen cross section of contemporary work. Their review of the literature is followed by an evaluation of the effects of mechanization on labor and production, written in 1904, which provides a backdrop for papers from the 1940s and 1950s examining the mechanization of agriculture in the South, in the Midwest, and in rural areas in general. Subsequent chapters offer present-day insights on such topics as the socioeconomic consequences of automated vegetable and tobacco harvesting, center-pivot irrigation, and organic and no-till cultivation. The authors also look at compensation and adjustment programs for displaced labor, the relationship between technology and agribusiness growth, and the effectiveness of university programs that prepare students to perform social impact assessments in agriculture. The edited proceedings of a spirited roundtable discussion on new directions for the study of the social impacts of farm technology and the political economy of agriculture provide the thought-provoking conclusion to this overview of the field.

Other Titles in This Series -- Foreword -- Introduction and Literature Overview -- A Time of Research Synthesis -- Socioeconomic Consequences of Agricultural Mechanization in the United States: Needed Redirections for Mechanization Research -- Historical Precedents and Insights -- The Influence of Farm Machinery on Production and Labor -- Technology on the Farm -- The Social Effects of Recent Trends in the Mechanization of Agriculture -- The Impact of Mechanization of Agriculture on the Farm Population of the South -- Social Aspects of Farm Mechanization in Oklahoma -- Agricultural Mechanization and Social Change in Rural Louisiana -- Recent Concerns with New Technologies in Agriculture -- Mechanized Agriculture and Social Welfare: The Case of the Tomato Harvester -- Assessment of the Economic and Social Impacts of Agricultural Technology: A Case Study -- From Lug Boxes to Electronics: A Study of California Tomato Growers and Sorting Crews, 1977 -- University Involvement in Social Impact Analysis of Changing Agricultural Technologies: Tobacco Harvest Mechanization in the Southeast -- Can Tobacco Farmers Adjust to Mechanization? A Look at Allotment Holders in Two North Carolina Counties -- A Programmatic Approach to the Social Impact Assessment of Agricultural Technology -- Sustained Land Productivity: Equity Consequences of Alternative Agricultural Technologies -- Agricultural Mechanization: Physical and Societal Effects and Implications for Policy Development -- Technological Change and the Growth of Agribusiness: A Case Study of California Lettuce Production -- Agribusiness in the United Kingdom: Social and Political Implications -- The Social Impacts of Biogenetic Technology in Agriculture: Past and Future -- Emerging Visions: A Roundtable of Sociological Opinion -- Panel Discussion Excerpts from the 1981 Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society