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14 facts from ERS report on family farms14 facts from ERS report on family farms

Sole proprietorships are the most common form of legal organization for farms.

December 16, 2019

2 Min Read

Looking for something to talk about when the relatives come over? USDA's Economic Research Service has delivered just in time for Christmas. Their latest report, America's Diverse Family Farms, is filled with facts about America's farms.

Here's some facts to amaze your friends and family:

  1. About 90% of U.S. farms are small. In 2018, small farms accounted for 48% of the land operated by farms. Small farms have gross cash farm income of less than $350,000.

  2. Large-scale family farms accounted for the largest share of production, at 46%. Large-scale family farms are those with gross cash farm income of $1 million or more.

  3. Family farms as a group accounted for 98% of farms and 88% of production in 2018.

  4. Nonfamily farms accounted for 2% of farms and 12% of production.

  5. 15% of nonfamily farms had gross cash farm income of $1 million or more and accounted for 87% of nonfamily farms' production. Examples of nonfamily farms include partnerships of unrelated partners, closely held nonfamily corporations, farms with a hired producer unrelated to the owners and publicly held corporations.

  6. Large-scale family farms account for more than two-thirds of dairy production, while large-scale family farms and nonfamily farms produce more than 80% of high-value crops such as fruits and vegetables.

  7. Midsize and large-scale family farms dominate production of cotton, cash grains and soybeans and hogs.

  8. Small and large-scale farms together account for 69% of beef production. Small farms generally have cow-calf operations, while large-scale farms are more likely to operate feedlots.

  9. Small farms produce 56% of U.S. poultry and egg output and 50% of hay.

  10. Between 58% and 81% of small family farms had an operating profit margin in the high-risk red zone.

  11. Between 9% and 25% of small farms operate in the low-risk green zone, as do between 37% and 41% of midsize, large and very large farms.

  12. In 2018, 57% of farm households received an income at or above $63,179, the median for all U.S. households.

  13. Overall, 45% of principal farm operators work off the farm.

  14. Sole proprietorships are the most common form of legal organization for farms.

Source: USDA ERSwhich is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

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