Does Size Affect Family Farming?

As of September 12, 2014 at 4:08 p.m. ET the U.S. population is 318,867,168 people, 2% of that is 6,377,343 people.  Why did I pick out 2%?  In the United States, farmers and ranchers make up 2% of the population.  Out of the small 2%, 98% of those are family farms.  But what is a family farm?  For some people the definition of ‘family farming’ changes when a family owns a large quantity of land or cattle.  For others the quantity that a family owns makes no difference.

“The general concept of a family farm is one in which ownership and control of the farm business is held by a family of individuals related by blood, marriage, or adoption. Family ties can and often do extend across households and generations. Historically, it was not uncommon for the family farm to provide all of the labor for the farm and to own all of the land and capital of the farm. That is no longer true today, although the extent to which individual farms hire nonfamily labor, rent-in land or other capital, or contract for various farm services varies greatly across farms. In short, the organization of family farms changes over time.”

The creativity that comes from the businessmen and businesswomen, the entrepreneurial spirits in agriculture, can take the “family farms changes over time” statement to great heights.  With my background in the agriculture industry I see these larger family farms as those who acquire the knowledge and skills to thrive in to what they are today.  The knowledge and skills required to thrive can come from the future generations of family members or others who decide to become a part of the family farm mission and vision for the future.  No matter the size, family farms would not thrive without the correct knowledge or skills to care for the land or animals.  I have the utmost respect for farmers and ranchers despite the size of their operations.

Watch the short videos below to learn a bit more about a couple family farms.




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