Of the roughly 2 million U.S. farm households, slightly more than half report negative income from their farming operations each year, according to a new report from USDA’s Economic Research Service entitled, Economic Returns to Farming for U.S. Farm Households.
The proportion incurring farm losses is higher for households operating smaller farms, where most or all of their income is typically derived from off-farm activities.
In 2015, the year analyzed in this study, farm households earned an average of $119,880. In 2015, the average farm household owned approximately $1 million in farm assets in addition to nearly $600,000 in nonfarm assets. This study is based primarily on data from the 2015 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), a cross-sectional sample of U.S. farm operations.
This report provides a broader perspective on financial well-being of farm households, including the returns that farmers—as small business owners and landholders—receive from tax law and land ownership.