For years now I've been using this family pic during my farming presentations saying "We are a corporate farm and here's our Board of Directors." I was actually being facetious because our farm is a family farm, large yes, but still, what you see below is pretty much what you get (plus a few years). Little did I know that today, I'd discover it wasn't tongue in cheek, it was actually true! We are a "corporate" farm!
This pic was taken in the fall of 2007, as one of the Maryland farm families who were inducted into Maryland's Agriculture Hall of Fame. So the kids now are all either in high school or have graduated. But this is it, the family who operates the family farm... and it happens to be a corporate farm.
I was researching USDA 2012 Ag Census data for an upcoming webinar I am speaking at on U.S. Agriculture 101. One of the questions I was asked to define was the difference between family farms and corporate farms. As I started looking at the statistics and asking questions of the folks at National Ag Statistics Survey (great guys, very helpful BTW), I was amazed at what I found out!
|Source: U.S. Ag Census Atlas Maps|
Nearly 87% of farms in the U.S. are family owned, usually a sole proprietor, or husband and wife but
with no tax or liability structure for protection
(that's scary in this day of age)
|Source: U.S. 2012 Ag Census Atlas Map|
Another 7% are owned in family partnerships, but does not include family farms operated by
a husband and wife.