CONTRACTS AND GROWING: USDA estimates that 35% of all agricultural products were grown under some type of contract in 1998. This percentage is rising. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) strongly supports sustainable agriculture (despite its neglect from federal agencies). He is now the chair of the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee. Industrial agriculture receives billions in subsidies each year.
Contracting has been a significant and growing part of U.S. agriculture since at least 1960. In 1969, just over 156,000 farms (about 6 percent of all U.S. farms) had contracts (U.S. Department of Commerce). In 2001, more than 1 in 10 farm operators reported receiving income from contracts and the value of production under contract was about 36 percent of the total value of commodity production based on information obtained in USDA's 2001 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).
Source: National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, June 2001. Available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/farmstructure/Questions/Contract.htm