Small Farms in the United States: Persistence Under Pressure

39 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2010

See all articles by Robert A. Hoppe

Robert A. Hoppe

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

James M. MacDonald

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Penni Korb

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Date Written: February 1, 2010

Abstract

Ninety-one percent of U.S. farms are classified as small - gross cash farm income (GCFI) of less than $250,000. About 60 percent of these small farms are very small, generating GCFI of less than $10,000. These very small noncommercial farms, in some respects, exist independently of the farm economy because their operators rely heavily on off-farm income. The remaining small farms - small commercial farms - account for most small-farm production. Overall farm production, however, continues to shift to larger operations, while the number of small commercial farms and their share of sales maintain a long-term decline. The shift to larger farms will continue to be gradual, because some small commercial farms are profitable and others are willing to accept losses.

Keywords: Family Farms, Farm Businesses, Farm Financial Performance, Farm-Operatorhousehold Income, Farm Operators, Farm Structure, Noncommercial Farms, Small Farms, Small Commercial Farms

Suggested Citation

Hoppe, Robert A. and MacDonald, James M. and Korb, Penni, Small Farms in the United States: Persistence Under Pressure (February 1, 2010). USDA-ERS Economic Information Bulletin No. 63, February 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1557208 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1557208

Robert A. Hoppe (Contact Author)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
(202) 694-5572 (Phone)

James M. MacDonald

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
(202) 694-5610 (Phone)

Penni Korb

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
(202) 694-5575 (Phone)

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