Farming Remains a Family Business

U.S. farming, according to a just- released study, remains predominantly family-owned.

According to “America’s Diverse Family Farms: 2019 edition,” a report from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, family farms as a group represent 98 percent of U.S. farms and 88 percent of production in 2018.

Approximately 90 percent of U.S. farms are considered small farms. In 2018, these farms, bringing in less than $350,000 in gross revenue, accounted for 48 percent of farm acres. Although the majority of farmers reside on small farms and have a large amount of land, their production holds at 21 percent.

While the large-scale family farm—those that brought in at least $1 million in gross revenue—owns fewer than 3 percent of U.S. farms and less than 20 percent of the land. Yet, these farms account for slightly more than 45 percent of production.

However, there are certain areas in which small farms dominate—eggs, hay and poultry. Midsize and large-scale family farms dominate in cotton (82 percent of production), hogs (66 percent) and dairy (more than 70 percent).

The study also examined the operating risk associated with the different types of farms and found small farms have a greater share of risk.

According to the report, most farmers earn more than the U.S. median income of slightly more than $63,000. Moderate-sale farms produce an income of just under $100,000, with mid-size and large farms exceeding $100,000. The report states that very large farms show an income of more than $700,000.

Source: Salina Journal