For over a decade, specific Federal farm programs have targeted
assistance based on the characteristics of farm families. This
strategy is in contrast to the more typical policy approach of
establishing eligibility for farm programs based on crops produced,
conservation goals, or disaster relief.
Preferential treatment under one or more farm programs is based
on the following personal characteristics of farmers and ranchers
- Years of farming experience, that is, beginning farmers and
- Membership in demographic groups whose members may have been
subjected to gender, racial, or ethnic prejudices. These
individuals are jointly referred to as socially disadvantaged
- Farm families with low financial resources, so-called limited
ERS research on this topic includes the following:
- Analyzing the financial performance and characteristics of the
businesses, operators, and households of beginning, socially
disadvantaged, and limited-resource farms.
- Assessing the participation of these "targeted" farms in
Federal farm programs and the impact that the preferential
treatment given to targeted farmers has on the distribution of
- Examining trends in farm business exit and entry.