Most farms are family farms

The annual USDA Diverse Family Farms report says most U.S. farms are owned by families.

“Ninety-eight percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 87 percent of farm production,” said Chris Burns, economic researcher at the USDA.

Small farms make up 89 percent of the total farm count and represent half the country’s farmland, according to Burns, referring to the annual report. Another finding in the USDA report is that farm households in general are neither low income or low wealth.

“About 59 percent of farm households receive an income that was at or above the median for all U.S. households in 2017,” said Burns, in comments provided by the USDA.

Also, according to the report, 1/3 of all U.S. farm production occurs under contract.

“An agreement particularly between a farmer and some intermediary, like a processor, that governs the quantity, the price and the outlet for a particular commodity,” he said.

Commodities such as tobacco and hogs have seen an increase in contract production over the last two decades, said Burns.

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