To follow, you will find a breakdown of family farm sizes, non-family farms, value of production of each farm category, and government conservation land acres of each. This post is Part III of my breakdown and excerpt of this USDA report.
Key sentence: Only 2 percent of U.S farms are nonfamily farms, accounting for the remaining 18 percent of production.
Three features of U.S. farm structure stand out.
First, small family farms make up 88 percent of all U.S. farms.
Second, large-scale family farms—only 9 percent of all farms—account for a disproportionately large, 66-percent share of the value of production.
Third, farming is still an industry of family businesses. Ninety-eight percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 82 percent of production. Only 2 percent of U.S farms are nonfamily farms, accounting for the remaining 18 percent of production.
Despite their 16-percent share of total farm production, small farms produce a larger share of specific commodities: 23 percent of the value of production for cash grains and soybeans, 51 percent for hay, 34 percent for tobacco, and 22 percent for beef. At the other extreme, small farms contribute a miniscule share to the value of production for hogs (5 percent) and poultry (3 percent).
The largest share of small-farm production occurs among medium-sales farms, which account for 7 percent of total U.S. production.
The share of assets and land held by small farms is also substantially more
than indicated by their small share of production. Small farms hold 64 percent of all farm assets, including 63 percent of the land owned by farms.
Because of their large land holdings—in aggregate—small farms are important in conservation efforts. Small farms account for 76 percent of the land farmers enroll in USDA and-retirement programs: the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and the Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP).