In 2007, 37,300 farms -- 2% of US farming operations -- accounted for half of US, agricultural production, according to the Agricultural Resource Management Survey. These farms were million dollar farms -- that is, they had sales of $1 million or more. Million-dollar farms accounted for roughly 60% to 70% of the production of five major commodities: dairy products, hogs, high-value crops, poultry, and beef. Beef cattle production has three basic phases, with million-dollar cattle farms specializing in the last phase. Several technological advances helped make livestock production (dairy, hogs, poultry, and fed cattle) more routine, making it easier for farms to operate on a large scale.
FA R M S, F I R M S, A N D H O U S E H O L D S F I N D I N G S Million-Dollar Farms Dominate Production of Some Commodities In 2007, 37,300 farms—2 tions, place them in feedlots percent of U.S. farming opera- until they reach slaughter tions—accounted for half of weight, and ship them to U.S. agricultural production, packers. Cow-calf enterprises according to the Agricultural are typically found on small Resource Management Survey. farms. Million-dollar beef These farms were million dollar farms—especially those with farms—that is, they had sales of sales of at least $5 million— $1 million or more. Operating are much more likely to be profit margins are high for mil- fed-cattle operations. lion-dollar farms, giving them a Several technological competitive advantage (see advances helped make live- ISSUE 1 chart, “Operating profit margins stock production (dairy, hogs, for farms increase with sales,” poultry, and fed cattle) more on page 43). Jeff Vanuga, USDA/NRCS routine, making it easier VO L U M E 7 Million-dollar farms Million-dollar farms accounted for large shares of dairy, hogs, for farms to operate on a accounted for roughly 60 high-value crops, poultry, and beef in 2007 large scale. Milk and live- to 70 percent of the stock production moved Sales class: production of five major $5,000,000 or more $250,000 to $499,999 from an open environ- commodities: dairy prod- $1,000,000 to $4,999,999 Less than $250,000 ment to climate-con- 8 $500,000 to $999,999 (small farms) ucts, hogs, high-value trolled buildings, making crops, poultry, and beef, % of U.S. production Million-dollar farms production less depend- A M B E R WAV E S 100 The largest million-dollar ent on the weather.
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