Just before the end of 2018, the Economic Research Service at the United States Department of Agriculture released a report analyzing data from a 2017 survey of farmers across the country. This report – titled “America’s Diverse Family Farms” – presents the facts behind farming in America.
According to the USDA:
- Ninety-eight percent of U.S. farms are family farms, and they account for 87 percent of farm production.
- Family farms categorized as midsize or large produced 62 percent of America’s food and fiber and accounted for 6 out of 10 harvested acres in 2017.
- One-third of U.S. farm goods are produced under forward contracts to help manage price and production risks.
- Seven in 10 American farms have an operating profit margin in the “red zone,” indicating a high risk of financial problems.
- Farm income has declined almost 40 percent since 2013, and more than 40 percent of farms are now relying on income generated off the farm to make ends meet.
The crop insurance system that protects these family farms and makes forward contracting possible in today’s difficult financial environment was also mentioned in the report.
Two-thirds of midsize farms and three-fourths of large farms participate in crop insurance, the report found.
National Crop Insurance Services has traveled the country for the past year hearing first-hand from family farmers in Iowa to Colorado to North Carolina and elsewhere about their experiences. The message has overwhelmingly been that crop insurance is an invaluable tool for America’s farmers and ranchers, and that policymakers should “do no harm to crop insurance.”
Be sure to check out their stories and learn more about crop insurance’s importance to your state at www.cropinsuranceinmystate.org.