Limited-Resource Farmers

Only 7.4 percent of family farm households were classified as limited-resource farms in 2012, based on relatively low farm sales and low household income (see Table 11 in the Farm Household Income and Characteristics data product for characteristics of principal farm operator households by limited resource farmer status in 2012). On average, they lost money farming on a cash basis (after depreciation). Some of these households had large farm losses, which explains why their median income is higher than their average income. (The opposite is usually true for most farm classifications.) Their relatively low off-farm income is not surprising, given that nearly 55 percent of principal operators of limited-resource farms are age 65 or older. However, in spite of their low sales and household income, their median net worth was over $376,000 in 2012.