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The USDA report reiterated the significant impact family-owned farms have on U.S. agriculture.
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service released a report on March 17 that showed 97 percent of today's U.S. farms are family-owned. Researchers claim that family-owned farms remain the backbone of the agriculture industry, according to the report titled, “What is a Family Farm?”
By definition, a family farm is a farm where a majority of the business is owned by the operator and individuals related to the operator. This can be through relations forged via marriage, blood, or adoption.
"As we wrap up mining the 6 million data points from the latest Census of Agriculture, we used typology to further explore the demographics of who is farming and ranching today," said NASS Statistics Division Director Hubert Hamer. "What we found is that family-owned businesses, while very diverse, are at the core of the U.S. agriculture industry. In fact, 97 percent of all U.S. farms are family-owned."
There are approximately 2.1 million farms in the U.S., and 88 percent of them are considered to be small family farms. About 58 percent of direct farm sales to consumers come from these small farms.
"Whether small or large -- on the East Coast, West Coast, or the Midwest -- family farms produce food and fiber for people all across the U.S. and the world," Hamer continued. "It's due in part to information such as this from the Census of Agriculture that we can help show the uniqueness and importance of U.S. agriculture to rural communities, families, and the world."
Additional data from the report, as well as highlights and infographics, can be accessed on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.