New USDA Report Looks at Family Farms

New USDA Report Looks at Family Farms

Farm ownership remains firmly in the hands of families.

A new report from USDA's Economic Research Service looks at family farms. The Family Farm Report, 2014 Edition, was released this week and shows some interesting conclusions:

Family farms have ownership. The report shows that family farms accounted for 97% of U.S. farms in 2011. Small family farms alone - annual gross cash farm income below $350,000 - made up 90% of farms. they also operated 52% of the Nation's farmland. Small farms accounted for a small share of production - 26% - although their share of production was higher for specific commodities. ERS notes that small farms accounted for 56% of poultry production.

arm ownership remains firmly in the hands of families.

Midsize, and large-scale farms, get it done.  The report shows that large-sized and mid-sized family farms made up only 8% of all U.S. farms in 2011, but accounted for 60% of the value of U.S. ag production. About 3% of farms were non-family farms production 15% of U.S. farm output. About 85% of nonfamily farm output was on farms with GCFI of $1 million or more. Most nonfamily farms - 78% - had GCFI below the $350,000 cutoff used to identify small farms.

Off-farm income helps. Small family farms were more likely to rely on off-farm income, which helps keep those smaller operations afloat, according to the report.

No poverty here. The report does note that the median household income for only two types of farms - retirement or low-sales farms - was below the median for all U.S. households in 2011. Yet the net worth of nearly all households operating retirement or low-sales farms, 96% and 97% respectively was higher than the median income for all U.S. households.

These are the latest insights into farm ownership and a quick summary. You can check out the entire report for more information.

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