Size of farm is related to primary source of household income

A chart showing the average household income of family farms, by size of farms, years 2009 to a forecast for 2012.

The roughly 2.1 million family farms in the United States vary significantly in the level and sources of household income of their principal operators. In 2011, 60 percent of family farms had gross sales of less than $10,000 and negative average farm incomes, typically receiving all of their household income from off-farm sources. Family farms with gross sales of $10,000 to $249,999 represented 30 percent of family farms in 2011, and the households operating these farms earned, on average, positive returns from their operations. Ten percent of family farms in 2011 were considered to be commercial farms, grossing $250,000 or more. While receiving less in off-farm income than those operating small farms, commercial family farm households earned significantly more on the farms they operated. As a result, they had average household incomes more than twice the level of smaller farm households. This chart is from the Farm Household Well-being topic page on the ERS website.

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