Twenty years from now, vastly fewer but much larger farms will generate the lion's share of agriculture output, said chief executive Brett Sciotto of Aimpoint Research. Speaking at a farm conference on Monday, Sciotto said current trends in agriculture point to 100,000 "production" farmers in the country, one-quarter or one-fifth of the current crop of mid- and large-size farms that dominate the sector.
By far, the family-owned-and-operated farm is the prototype of U.S. agriculture: 99 percent of U.S. farms are family farms, say USDA economists. Increasingly, large family farms are the leading source of production; only 2.9 percent of them have more than $1 million a year in gross cash farm income but they deliver 42 percent of U.S. production.
The senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, said she had a productive conversation with President Trump's nominee for agriculture secretary, but did not endorse former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for the job. So far, Agriculture Committee member Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota is the only Democrat in the Senate to commit to voting for Perdue.
More than two dozen Republican senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, signed on as sponsors of a bill by South Dakota Sen. John Thune to repeal the estate tax. Farm groups are long-time opponents of the tax, saying it disrupts transfer of property from one generation to the next.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told a recent rally in Des Moines that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wants to shut down family farms, impose radical regulations, push tax rates on farms and other businesses to 50 percent and impose an estate tax of up to 45 percent on farms. "We rate the combination of claims as False," concludes the independent fact-checking site Politifact.
Ecotrust, a non-profit based in Portland, Ore., opened phase one of a $23 million, 80,000-square-foot campus that is part food hall, part food hub, designed to connect small- and mid-size farms and ranches with their customers, Fast Company says. The Redd on Salmon Street offers a central warehouse where farmers, ranchers, and other producers can stash their products until they’re ready to be distributed, the magazine said.
At its presidential convention opening today, the Democratic Party will adopt a platform that vows to support family farms, "provide a focused safety net" and encourage development of clean fuels. "We believe that in order to be effective in keeping our air and water clean and combatting climate change, we must enlist farmers as partners in promoting conservation and stewardship," says the 55-page draft.
Born during the agricultural recession of the mid-1980s, Farm Aid said its annual concert and food festival will be Sept. 17 in Bristow, Va, on the western fringe of the Washington, DC, area. The organization says it has raised $50 million from the concerts since 1985 to help further its goal of "a vibrant family farm-centered system of agriculture in America."
A statewide referendum in North Dakota tomorrow will let voters decide whether to make an exception for hog and dairy farms from the state ban on corporate farming. It may not be the final word, however, since the state Farm Bureau filed suit in federal court early this month in hopes of overturning the 1932 law that bans corporate farms altogether.
North Dakotans will vote in a June 14 referendum on a law that allows corporate hog and dairy farming in the state, says the Fargo Forum. The North Dakota Farmers Union led a petition drive that collected more than 19,000 signatures to refer the law to the voters.