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Small and Family Farms

More than 90 percent of farms in the U.S. are classified as small, with a gross cash farm income of $250,000, or less. These farms, most of which are family-owned and operated, confront considerable challenges due to current trends, such as increased movement into cities, an aging population, farm consolidation, and changing weather patterns.    

Importance of Family and Small Farms

Family and small farms are vital to our economy and well-being as a nation. Not only do they support the competitiveness and sustainability of rural and farm economies, they serve to:

  • Protect and enhance natural resources and the environment
  • Provide a nursery for the development of new enterprises and marketing systems
  • Maintain rural populations

NIFA’s Impact

NIFA works to improve the economic conditions and quality of life within small and family farm communities. In particular, our focus is to:

  • Increase confidence, production, and profits for small farm communities
  • Develop new and improved practices to reduce production costs
  • Ensure that farmers are knowledgeable about:
    • whole farm planning
    • estate planning and farm transition
    • risk management
    • market opportunities
  • Establish research and demonstration plots for specialty crops and apply technologies and best practices to field use
  • Ensure that all farmers have equal access to USDA’s programs and services

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