Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-13) 12 pp

May 2006

America's Diverse Family Farms: Structure and Finances

American farms vary widely in size and other characteristics, but farming is still an industry of family businesses. Ninety-eight percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 86 percent of farm production. Very small farms are growing in number, and small family farms continue to own most farmland. But production is shifting toward very large family farms. Because small-farm households receive most of their income from off-farm work, general economic policies-such as tax policy or economic development policy-can be as important to them as traditional farm policy.

Keywords: Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), family farms, farm businesses, farm financial performance, farm-operator household income, farm operators, farm structure, farm type, multiple-operator farms, multiple-generation farms, small farms

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