Small farms with direct sales often engage in other onfarm activities

A chart showing small farms with direct food sales.

Small farms (those with less than $50,000 annual sales) accounted for about 85% of all farms reporting direct sales of food to consumers in 2007 (about 116,000 farms). Within this group, direct sales accounted for over 35 percent of total farm sales, on average. Bundling other farm income generating activities (separate from basic commodity production) with direct food sales appears to be an important strategy for small farms. For example, 49 percent of all small farms engaged in organic production also reported direct sales to consumers, as did 33 percent of all small farms participating in community supported agriculture, and 28 percent of all small farms that produced value-added goods on the farm, such as processed products. Small farms appear to exploit complementarities between these activities and direct-sales ventures. For the other onfarm activities, the link with direct sales does not appear as strong. For example, only 8 percent of all small farms operating agritourism enterprises also sold directly to consumers. This chart is found in the ERS report, Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues, ERR-97, May 2010.

Download larger size chart (500 pixels by 393, 96 dpi)