Most farm households earn income from nonfarm sources, and in 2011, roughly 56 percent of their nonfarm income came from off-farm jobs, on average. Based on USDA’s 2010 Agricultural Resource Management Survey, when working off-farm, 36 percent of farm operators and their spouses reported working in management and professional occupations. This share is much higher than that for nonmetropolitan area workers in general (25 percent) and is even higher than that for metropolitan area workers (32 percent). Among farm couples where the operator, spouse, or both reported working off-farm, operators of larger farms reported the highest shares of employment in management and professional occupations, suggesting that many of them are able to apply the knowledge and skills used in managing a sizeable farm operation to other areas of employment. This chart is found in “When Working Off the Farm, Farm Operators Most Commonly Work in Management and Professional Occupations” in the September 2013 issue of ERS’s Amber Waves magazine.
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