The Dwindling Percentage Of American Family Farms


Today in the United States, fewer than 1 percent claim farming as an occupation and only 2 percent of Americans live on a farm. In my opinion this translates to a human systemic risk for the 98 percent of people who literally depend on them (and others) for their food.

But it gets worse…

Just 8.9 percent of American farms comprise approximately 75 percent of all farm sales revenue in the United States, illustrating how few farms provide the majority of production.

‘Very Large Family Farms’ with sales of $500,000 or more (4.6% of all farms)
‘Non-Family Farms’ – e.g. corporations (4.1% of all farms)

Data sourced from (‘Ag 101’) statistics of 2007
(demographics likely very similar today)

Number of Very Large Family Farms: 101,265
Number of Non-Family Farms: 91,177

While Americans source their food from many places (including lots from overseas), it seems somewhat remarkable that so few farms and so few people grow so much of our available farm product. Seems a bit risky.

The remaining 25% of farm product sales revenue come from these additional farm groups:

10% Large Family (sales between $250,000 and $499,999)
5% Farming Occupation -Higher Sales ($100,000 and $249,000)
3% Farming Occupation -Lower Sales (less than $100,000)
4% Residential /Lifestyle (who report a major occupation other than farming)
2% Retirement (whose operators report they are retired)
1% Limited Resource (<$100,000 sales, <$150,000 assets, household income <$20,000)   The number of residential / lifestyle farms were reported to be 801,844 which represents 0.3 percent or just 0.003 of all Americans.   As the farm population in the United States is dwindling, the age of the average farmer is rising. About 60 percent of the farmers in this country are 55 years old or older (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The average age of a 'principal operator' of a farm has increased to 57 years old. (USDA, Census of Agriculture). The dwindling and aging of Americas farms and farm population should lead to concerns about the long-term health of family farms and our overall systemic risk and growing dependency on fewer and fewer farming institutions.


  1. @ Ken

    Would you happen to know the “official” stats on farming/farmers around the “Great Depression”? In my opinion one of the worst times in our history as far as survival/food goes. My understanding for what it’s worth is that it was almost exactly opposite from what you reported here.

    Reason I ask is can you just imagine what is going to happen with the next collapse? Think about the 350 million people with no JIT food source. And no “farms” producing and the imports stopped.

    Now I know most of us here have a few months or years of “stash” hidden away, but what after that? The family garden will do for your family, but what about those 350 million that want your food supply? What about in the years that your crops fail, the rabbit dies, or the water is so polluted you can’t even use it for growing tomatoes?

    Thank God we have the sluverment to take care of us —- right? But seriously, what’s the plan?

    Just food for thought


    1. Well to answer some of your question,to be honest that year or 2 of food supply should be enough. The people that have no supplies are not going to last a year. In a collapse such as you are describing most experts figure that 90% of the population will die off in that first year. As for crops failing and rabbits dying those things have happened through the years that we lived an agricultural life and we survived.

      1. Excellent point of view poorman. that hard part will be surviving the “golden hordes” for that year.

  2. I live on Maui, 8 acre rural property, can cultivate 6 acres.

    Today the county council is considering legislation that will basically tax ag land at market value at the same rate as residential.

    Subsistence farming will no longer be acceptable as agriculture.

    You will be subject to random county inspections, etc etc etc,,,
    Its BS
    Im done

    1. Add to the above
      You can apply for an exemption and reduction through dedicating property for predetermined length of time but must comply with a laundry list of requirements…

    2. You should know it’s ALL about Tax DOLLARS, They (sloverment) don’t give a flying fig about feeding the people, or surviving, it’s ALL about money and control

    3. Throw in the “death tax” and why would anyone want to live, work, or call themselves a farmer? Makes it near impossible to pass on to the next generation.

  3. 1.With an endless number of renowned experts proclaiming that a major/massive financial cataclysm is absolutely unavoidable, we would be very wise to do as Joseph did in Egypt. Knowing that the famine was inevitable, he wisely stored up food stores on a massive scale. This would help to curb anxiety of untold millions.

    2. If the war path that we are currently on continues, there may one day no longer be a need for concern.

  4. I think you need to hide during the initial die off of the forsaken populace, and those that survive have located themselves somewhere and are staying put, before you start farming. Only after the chaos dies down can you think of such activity.

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