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Image: Farm Economy

Background

Note: This topic page may contain material that has not yet been updated to reflect the new Farm Act, signed into law on February 7, 2014. ERS has published highlights and some implications of the Act’s new programs and provisions. Sign up for the ERS Farm Bill e-newsletter to receive notices of topic page updates and other new Farm Bill-related materials on the ERS website.

The 2008 Farm Act established or modified several USDA farm programs to increase the participation of beginning farmers/ranchers, women and minority principal operators (so-called socially disadvantaged farmers), and limited-resource farmers (based on their low farm sales and household income, see the glossary for detailed definitions). Though not all Titles of the 2008 Farm Act address the needs of all these "targeted" groups, provisions appear in Title I (Commodities), Title II (Conservation), Title V (Credit), Title VI (Rural Development), Title VII (Research), Title IX (Energy), Title XII (Crop Insurance), Title XIV (Miscellaneous), and Title XV (Trade and Tax Provisions). See Provisions for Traditionally Underserved Groups in an archived version of the 2008 Farm Bill Side-By-Side.

These three targeted groups overlap somewhat. Combined, they represent 40 percent of all farms (see the table for general characteristics of the combined targeted populations Excel icon (16x16) . Because they are more likely than other farm households to operate small farms, they account for a smaller share of the value of production (15 percent in 2011). They are also less likely to receive direct government farm payments than other farms.

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Last updated: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

For more information contact: James Williamson

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