Large Farms Over $1 Million in Sales Account for Half of Total Farm Sales

Published on: 11:58AM Aug 13, 2010

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.