Washington State University’s “Profile of Small Farms in Washington State Agriculture” states that small farms comprise 91% of all farms in the United States and account for over half of its farmland (USDA 2009b).
Of the 39,284 farms counted in Washington State, 90% are classified as small (USDA 2009a). The USDA National Commission on Small Farms defines “small farms” as having:
- less than $250,000 gross receipts annually.
- day-to-day labor and management provided by the farmer and/or the farm family that owns the production or owns, or leases, the productive assets” (USDA 1998, 28).
- an array of commodities from fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers to meats, dairy products, grains, and seed crops, and are spread throughout the state.
Classifying farms by acreage can be misleading in a state like Washington, where productivity per acre can differ vastly depending on water availability, type of crop, and the farming strategies employed.
Excerpts and information from: “Profile of Small Farms in Washington State Agriculture”
WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION FACT SHEET • FS072E