Tag Archives: the state of the family farm in the US

Small, Sustainable Farms: What Does It Take?

The Rise of the Family Farm

used farming equipment

It has been noted that there are currently as many as five million fewer farms in our country, when compared to the 1930’s. Sure, industrial agriculture and factory farming has pushed the family farm out in many cases, buying up land or businesses and taking over like a large-scale corporation on a mergers and acquisitions binge. But in the urban areas, given the dramatic uptick in farmers markets all over the country, it would seem that the family farm is making a comeback.

This appears to be a difficult thing to get to the bottom of. Farm Aid notes that every week, another 300+ farmers leave their land. They also offer statistics that say there are around 2,000,000 farms in the country, of which only slightly more than 560,000 can be classified as family farms. The numbers themselves tell an alarming story: the aging population of farmers (apparently only 6% are younger than 35), the lack of new farmers going into business, etc.

So what can a small, family-owned farm do to stay competitive and remain sustainable in the current climate? Continue reading