Appendix D Economic Research Service Farm Typology
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service has developed a farm classification to divide U.S. farms into mutually exclusive and more homogeneous groups. The farm typology focuses on “family farms,” or farms organized as proprietorships, partnerships, and family corporations that are not operated by a hired manager. To be complete, however, the typology also considers nonfamily farms.
Small Family Farms (annual sales less than $250,000)
Limited-resource farms. Any small farm with (1) gross sales of less than $100,000, (2) total farm assets of less than $150,000, and (3) total operator household income of less than $20,000. Limited-resource farmers report farming, a nonfarm occupation, or retirement as their major occupation.
Retirement farms. Small farms whose operators report they are retired. (Excludes limited-resource farms operated by retired farmers.)
Residential/lifestyle farms. Small farms whose operators report they had a major occupation other than farming. (Excludes limited-resource farms with operators reporting a nonfarm major occupation.)
Farming-occupation/low-sales. Small farms with annual sales of less than $100,000 whose operators report farming as their major occupation. (Excludes limited-resource farms whose operators report farming as their major occupation.)
Farming-occupation/high-sales. Small farms with annual sales between $100,000 and $249,999 whose operators report farming as their major occupation.
Large family farms. Annual sales between $250,000 and $499,999.
Very large family farms. Annual sales of $500,000 or more.
Nonfamily farms. Farms organized as nonfamily corporations or cooperatives, as well as farms operated by hired managers.