Land-retirement payments to family farms with sales less than $10,000 nearly doubled between 1991 and 2009

A chart showing land-retirements payments by farm sales class, 1991 and 2009.

While commodity payments have shifted towards farms with more sales, the situation is different for land-retirement payments, which target environmentally sensitive land and largely come from the Conservation Reserve Program. From 1991 to 2009, family farms with sales less than $10,000 (noncommercial farms) nearly doubled their share of land-retirement payments from 16 percent to 30 percent. Over the same period, the average share of acreage enrolled--the ratio of the acres enrolled to total acres operated--increased from 36 percent to 46 percent for participating noncommercial farms. These increases could be attributed to small farms shifting into the noncommercial class following a substantial land retirement and/or older farmers with small commercial farms scaling their operations down by enrolling in the CRP. This chart comes from Changing Farm Structure and the Distribution of Farm Payments and Federal Crop Insurance, EIB-91, February 2012.

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