USDA Stats on small US farms: they own nearly half of all farmland, produce 16% more than entire cor

From Page 6 "Small farms with substantive agricultural production must be evaluated separately from those with very little production. We defi ne small commercial farms as those with a threshold level of sales—GCFI of at least $10,000. While substantially outnumbered by the 1.2 million noncommercial farms in the United States in 2007, there were still 800,000 small commercial farms (36 percent of all farms). They held 41 percent of farmland, accounted for 22 percent of production, and provided virtually all of the 23-percent share of total small-farm production." "The number of small commercial farms has shrunk over time, as has their share of U.S. farm production (Hoppe and Banker, 2006, pp. 7-9). Their total production remains quite large, coming in at $65 billion for 2007, or 16 percent more than total agricultural production in the Corn Belt.8 Small commercial farms produced nearly twice as much as California, which ranked fi rst in agricultural production." From Page 10 "Small farms account for 55 percent of poultry production, 51 percent of hay, 45 percent of other livestock (largely grazing animals other than cattle), and 32 percent of tobacco (fig. 3), which is a relatively small crop with a long history of production on small farms. In addition, small farms’ share of beef and grain/soybeans is similar to their 23-percent share of all production." "By contrast, large and very large farms dominate the production of dairy, hogs, cotton, and high-value crops. In fact, very large farms produce about three-fourths of high-value crops. High-value crops can generate large sales per acre, but require substantially more labor than cattle, more commonly produced by small farms." From page 30 "Small farms account for half of all farmland. Due to the large amount of land they control, small farms are important to conservation efforts. Small farms account for 82 percent of the land enrolled in land-retirement programs and receive 83 percent of land-retirement payments"

United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, Robert A. Hoppe, James M. MacDonald, and Penni Korb, "Small Farms in the United States: Persistence Under Pressure," Economic Information Bulletin Number 63, February 2010, [verified 4/15/14]

#farming #agriculture #environment #crops