September 23rd celebrates family farming across America. The story of family farming runs deep and is enriched in strong family values.

The USDA labels a family farm as “any farm organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or family corporation. Family farms exclude farms organized as non-family corporations or cooperatives as well as farms with hired managers”. That truly is a mouthful, but family farming can be summarized as a farm of any size owned and operated by a single family and or family members. Family farms are beneficial to the American economy due to the raising number of the overall population. Which means that the family farms need to have the ability to feed more people.

The United States family farm numbers are as follows:

  • 96% of US Farms are family owned and operated, which is 2,204,792 farms.
  • Production of food and fiber from a large and medium family farms are 63%
  • Production of food and fiber from a small family farms (which is around 2 million farms and ranches) are 15%
  • Production of food and fiber from a commercial farms are 21%

The states with the most family farm (as of 2018) are as followed:

  • Texas, 248,000 family farms
  • Missouri 97,300 family farms
  • Iowa 86,900 family farms
  • Ohio 77,800 family farms
  • Oklahoma 77,200 family farms

The biggest conversation is, Are American Family Farms slowly declining? The number of mid-sized farms declined 5% from year 1992 to 2012. It is soon to be 2020 so it will be interesting to see how far that number has dropped again, with family dairy farms going out of business.

Dairy family farms are rapidly going out of business, but why? Is there not the support, economy or even the capacity to keep up with commercial farming. In 2014, the farm milk prices began to drop which caused the farms to slowly close their door due to the 40% fallen milk prices. In 2018, 700 dairy farms closed the barn door for the last time. Dairy herds have decreased by 40% for the past 10 years.

Family Farms should be cherished to encourage future agriculturalist to return to the family farm or to return to the agricultural field. As well as youth and or community members who are not involved in the agriculture field can dip their toe and be taught about the agriculture industry through working at a family farm.

Encourage the healthy growth of family farms, it will save the the experience and tradition of all future agriculturalist!

We want to show your family farm off! Fill out our Family Farm survey to be featured on our Miss Agriculture Facebook page!

BLOG 2019- National Family Farm Day

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