New data from the Department of Agriculture shows the number of mid-sized farms is declining. The USDA Economic Research Service found mid-sized farms declined by five percent between 1992 and 2012, to about 125,000.
Midsize operations are defined as those with gross cash farm income between $350,000 and $1 million. USDA attributed the decline partly due to exits from the business, but also volatile income and a tendency to downsize or grow at higher rates than small and large farms.
USDA says the trend also may indicate new technology and the increasing profitability of large farms limit the role of midsize farms in modern agriculture. During the same period, the number of large farms more than doubled. The data also shows that small farms, those with less than $350,000 gross cash farm income, represent 90 percent of all farms, but only grow about 22 percent of America’s agricultural goods.