USDA Report says, 97-Percent of all U.S. Farms are Family-Owned

Several generations of the Bodeau family work together to bring in the wheat harvest.

USDA Report says, 97-Percent of all U.S. Farms are Family-Owned

So THIS is the face of corporate farming; The American family.

According to a 2012 United States Department of Agriculture census, 97-percent of all U.S. farms are family-owned. The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports that, family-owned farms remain the backbone of the agriculture industry.

So, what is a family farm?

The report goes on to quote NASS Statistics Division Director Hubert Hamer, who says, “What we found is that family-owned businesses, while very diverse, are at the core of the U.S. agriculture industry. In fact, 97-percent of all U.S. farms are family owned.”

The 2012 Census of Agriculture Farm Typology defines the family farm; – A family farm is any farm where the majority of the business is owned by the operator, and individuals related to the operator; including through blood, marriage, or adoption.

The USDA news release (March 17, 2015) lists five main facts about family farms:

  1. Food equals family – 97-percent of the 2.1-million farms in the United States are family owned operations.
  1. Small business matters – 88-percent of all U.S. farms are SMALL family farms.
  1. Local connections come in small packages – 58-percent of all direct farm sales to consumers come from small family farms.
  1. Big business matters too – 64-percent of all vegetable sales and 66 percent of all dairy sales come from the 3-percent of farms that are large or very large family farms.
  1. Farming provides new beginnings – 18-percent of principal operators of family farms in the U.S. started within the last 10-years.

Hubert Hamer adds, “Whether small or large – on the east coast, west coast, or the midwest – family farms produce food and fiber for people all across the U.S. and the world.”

All of this goes for Washington State as well. Agriculture is BIG in Washington State, with several crops coming in at number one in production for the nation. In fact, the total value of Washington’s 2013 agricultural production surpassed ten-billion dollars.

So, it’s quite easy to know who is growing the food that you put on the table for you family. Just look around you; they are your neighbors, your friends, your family. People like you and me are growing the good food we eat. The face of corporate farming is, family.


USDA News Release: Family Farms are the Focus of New Agriculture Census Data – by Krissy Young (Published March 17, 2015)

USDA Press Release: Value of Washington’s 2013 Agricultural Production Surpasses Ten Billion Dollars (Posted online January 26, 2015)