A recent report from the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) confirms what farmers have been saying for a while now: there are fewer growers, but they are producing more while using fewer chemicals and less land, labor and water.
The report credits new technology-driven production practices — like precision agriculture — with this increase in productivity and decrease in environmental impacts.
Farmers and ranchers are also relying more on contracting and shifting to partnerships and corporations, allowing risks to be spread over a wider set of stakeholders, according to the ERS report, "The Changing Organization of U.S. Farming."
According to the report, although production has shifted to larger farms over the past 25 years, 97 percent of all farms remain family farms generating more than 85 percent of the total value of domestic agricultural production.
To download the full ERS report or view the report summary, click here.