Ninety-one percent of U.S. farms are classified as small—gross cash farm income (GCFI) of less than $250,000. About 60 percent of these small farms are very small, generating GCFI of less than $10,000. These very small noncommercial farms, in some respects, exist independently of the farm economy because their operators rely heavily on off-farm income. The remaining small farms—small commercial farms—account for most small-farm production. Overall farm production, however, continues to shift to larger operations, while the number of small commercial farms and their share of sales maintain a long-term decline. The shift to larger farms will continue to be gradual, because some small commercial farms are profitable and others are willing to accept losses.
Small Farms in the United States: Persistence Under Pressure
ERS Economic Information Bulletin
Robert A. Hoppe, James M. MacDonald, and Penni Korb
Washington, DC: USDA Economic Research Service
February 01, 2010
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Agricultural Economic Trends, Agricultural Statistics, Local / Regional Food Systems