Exploring Alternative Farm Definitions: Implications for Agricultural Statistics and Program Eligibility
by Erik O'Donoghue
, Robert Hoppe
, David Banker, and Penni Korb
Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-49) 41 pp, March 2009
Cover image for eib49
Meeting agricultural policy and statistical goals requires a definition of U.S. agriculture’s basic unit, the farm. However, these goals can be at odds with one another. USDA defines “farm” very broadly to comprehensively measure agricultural activity. Consequently, most establishments classified as farms in the United States produce very little, while most production occurs on a small number of much larger operations. While desirable for obtaining comprehensive national coverage, measurement and analysis based on the current definition can provide misleading characterizations of farms and farm structure in the United States. Additionally, more stringent requirements have been proposed for farms to qualify for Federal agricultural program benefits. This analysis outlines the structure of U.S. farms, discusses the current farm definition, evaluates several potential criteria that have been proposed to define target farms more precisely, and examines how these criteria affect both statistical coverage and program eligibility.
Keywords: Agricultural statistics, Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), farm income, off-farm income, farm businesses, farm definition, program eligibility
In this publication...
Report summary, Pdf file 117 kb | HTML
Abstract, Contents, and Summary, Pdf file 224 kb
Introduction, Pdf file 26 kb
Farm Definition Matters for Statistics and Federal Programs, Pdf file 77 kb
What Kinds of Screens Might Capture Active Farming?, Pdf file 308 kb
Conclusion, Pdf file 28 kb
References, Pdf file 26 kb
Entire report, Pdf file 550 kb
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