Big farms get bigger as U.S. farm numbers get smaller

U.S. farm numbers continue to drift lower, dropping to 2.048 million according to a USDA survey conducted last June, only a shadow of their peak during the Depression. At the same time that the total falls, the portion of land operated by the biggest farms, the powerhouses with more than $1 million a year in sales, continues to grow, now covering a quarter of all farmland.

The bigger the farm, the more volatile the farm income

The total household income of crop farmers is 9 percent more volatile than that of livestock producers, say USDA economists in a report that drills into farm household income, which often includes off-farm employment. The report says farm income is more variable than income of non-farmers and that as farms get bigger, so does the degree of volatility of their income.