A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report claims American farms have grown larger over the past three decades and family farmers are still running them. John Newton serves as director of market intelligence for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). Newton says family farms have taken advantage of opportunities to improve their operations
“Opportunities come available for family farms to acquire more land or grow in their operations, especially as they have been successful in their farming operation,” Newton said. “We have seen more consolidation in agriculture, but I think it’s important to remember that family farms still account for about 99% of all U.S. farms, and that hasn’t changed over time.”
Newton says advancements in technology have helped family farmers raise more animals and grow more crops with fewer people and less inputs, like crop protection tools. This efficiency helps farmers feed a growing population.
“We have to be incredibly productive, we have to produce more and use fewer resources in order to feed the world’s growing population,” Newton said. “We’ve seen advancements in technology, not only on the seed side, but on the planting and harvesting side. These equipments have gotten larger and faster, and that’s helped us become more productive, produce more and use fewer resources in doing it.”
Newton says there has also been consolidation in several segments of agriculture, including farm machinery and chemical companies.
“We have members across the country that grow a variety of products, so we’ll continue to monitor these consolidation trends in agriculture because they do impact the family farm. We want to see that farmers have access to competitively produced goods and services, so we can be the best and most efficient farmers in the world,” Newton said.