Updating the ERS Farm Typology
40 Pages Posted: 21 May 2013
Date Written: April 2013
The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) farm typology was originally developed to classify farms into relatively homogeneous groups based on their gross farm sales, the primary occupation of their operators, and whether the farms are family farms. Nearly 15 years have passed since ERS first released its farm typology; in this report, we update it to reflect commodity price inflation and the shift of production to larger farms. We also make a technical change, switching the measure of farm size from gross farm sales to gross cash farm income (GCFI), the total revenue received by a farm business in a given year. After the price adjustment, small farms are defined as those with GCFI less than $350,000, up from the original $250,000 cutoff. To adjust for the upward shift in production, two groups are added to the typology for farms with GCFI of $1 million or more, and a midsize group is added for farms with GCFI between $350,000 and $999,999.
Keywords: classifying farms, family farms, farm businesses, farm operators, farm operator household income, farm size, farm structure, farm typology, large farms, large-scale farms, midsize farms, million-dollar farms, small farms
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