Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-88) 83 pp

December 2011

The Changing Organization of U.S. Farming

Innovations in farm organization, business arrangements, and production practices have allowed farmers to produce more with less. Fewer labor hours and less land are used today than 30 years ago, and practices such as the use of genetically engineered seeds and no-till have dampened increases in machinery, fuel, and pesticide use. Likely aided by the increased use of risk management tools such as contracts and crop insurance, U.S. agricultural productivity has increased by nearly 50 percent since 1982. Future innovations will be necessary to maintain, or boost, current productivity gains in order to meet the growing global demands that will be placed upon U.S. agriculture.

Keywords: Agricultural trends, Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), business organization, census of agriculture, consolidation, contracting, demographics, government payments, land use, production practices, productivity, specialization, ERS, USDA

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