According to the USDA (using 2007 information) farmers who grow and raise more than $1 million in annual farm sales account for 47% of total farm production. The survey done by the USDA compared 2007 to 1991 and there are several interesting facts in the survey:
- Very small farms have increased by over 315,000 during the period and large farms over $250,000 increased over 50,000 while the small commercial farms between $10,000 and $250,000 decreased by about 275,000 (all of the revenue numbers have been adjusted to reflect 2007 values).
- In 1991, farms with less than $250,000 in sales represented 42% of the total farm sales. In 2007, this had dropped to 23%.
- Farms over $1 million in sales increased from 28% of the total to about 47%.
- Farms between $250,000 and $1 million held steady at about 30% of the total, while farms between $100 thousand and $250 thousand decrease from 23% to only 14%.
- Operating margins were the highest in the over $1 million farmers with at least 60% of the farms showing an operating margin of 20% or more.
- In all categories of farms, the farmer aged 65 or greater grew from 1991 to 2007. For example, in those farms between $100 thousand to $500 thousand, the percentage of farms over age 65 grew from about 10% to about 20%. Even the large farms say a small increase in these age groups.
- Farms under $250,000 continue to be a large factor in the growing of hay, tobacco and small grains with their production ranging from 24% to 30% of these commodities
I think the trend of larger farms will continue especially as the older farmers pass on their land to children that are not in farming.