The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has developed a farm typology, or farm classification, that divides the 2.1 million U.S. farms into 8 mutually exclusive and relatively homogeneous groups:
- limited resource farms
- retirement farms
- residential/lifestyle farms
- farming occupation/lower sales
- farming occupation/high sales
- large family farms
- very large family farms
- nonfamily farms.
Also, the eight categories can be collapsed into 3:
- rural residence farms
- intermediate farms
- commercial farms
Data for 2003 indicate that Commercial farms, those having sales of $250,000 or more annually, constitute 9% of all farms and account for 72% of production. Intermediate farms, constituting 24% of all farms, account for 19% of production. The largest number of farms, characterized as rural residence farms, constitute 68% of all farms and account for 8% of production.
This article incorporates public domain material from the Congressional Research Service document "Report for Congress: Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 Edition" by Jasper Womach.