Institutions / Research - Demographics (2)
It is often the farmers who obtain land grants from United States government organizations, so a demographic profile of agricultural producers was provided for the United States. Demographic groups that are given special consideration for land grants by the United States government includes veterans, women, minorities and beginning farmers.
An Overview of Farm Producers in 2017 in the United States
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides loans to existing and new farmers to purchase or expand farmland though the Direct Farm Ownership, Direct Farm Operating and Guaranteed Farm Loans loan programs among others.
- 64% of agricultural producers in the United States are male while 36% are female.
- 83% of males make the land use and/or crop decisions as compared to 59% of females.
- Only 8% of agricultural producers are under the age of 35.
- 58% of agricultural producers are between the ages of 35 and 64, with 57.5 years being the average age of farm producers.
- 34% of agricultural producers are over 65 years old, with the fasted growing age group of farm producers being over 65 years old.
- The racial/ethnic profile of farm producers in the United states is 95.4% White, while Hispanic farmers comprise 3% of producers.
- Other racial/ethnic groups included among farm producers is 1.7% American Indian/Alaska Native, 0.6% Asian, 1.3% Black, 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 0.8% more than one race.
Outreach for Farmers with Military Service
- In 2017, 11% of agricultural producers had military service.
- 95% of farmers with military service are male in 2017.
- The average age of agriculture producers with military service is 67.9 years in 2017.
- The share of agricultural producers with military experience is highest in the Southestern United States.
- 24% of military veterans returned to rural areas in the United States in 2017.
- The USDA offers many programs designed to meet veterans' needs, including the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and the Farm Loan Program.
The Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program
- The Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) was created by congress in 2002 in order to promote the establishment and success of the next generation of farmers.
- More than one-third of projects funded by the BFRDP program between 2009 – 2015 helped new farmers access land and capital
- 51% of projects as part of the BFRDP provide programs for land access.
- 25% of the funds for the BFRDP must serve limited resource or socially disadvantaged farmers or farm workers.
- 53% of funds for the BFRDP must be awarded to projects focusing on socially disadvantaged farmers.
- 51% of BFRDP projects target minorities.
- 21% of BFRDP projects target women.
- 27% of BFRDP projects target immigrants or refugees.
- 48% of BFRDP projects target low income/limited income applicants.
- 9% of BFRDP projects target farm workers.
- 16% of BFRDP projects were awarded in the Northeast region of the United States
- 27% of BFRDP projects were awarded in the Southern region of the United States
- 28% of BFRDP projects were awarded in the North Central region of the United States
- 29% of BFRDP projects were awarded in the Western region of the United States.
Alaska has the Most Beginning Farmers
- 46% of agriculture producers in Alaska were beginning farmers, with ten or fewer years of farming experience in 2017.
- The average age of an agricultural producer in Alaska is 55.2 years in 2017.
- 47% of farmers in Alaska are female in 2017.
- 14% of farmers in Alaska have military experience in 2017.
- 43.23% of the farms in Alaska are nine acres or smaller, with the median size farm only 13 acres.
While first examining the applicant profile of land grants from government organizations, the USDA in particular, it was not possible to get public data for the demographics of the applicant pool for any grants from the USDA. There was census data on the agricultural producers in 2017 that can be used as a guide for the existing farmers who will likely be the ones who apply for land grants to expand or purchase their farms.
Demographic groups that the USDA takes into special consideration for land grants include veterans and socially disadvantaged groups through The Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program.
Research found that Alaska has the most beginning farmers, and a demographic profile of that state was provided to outline this new trend in farming. For example, new farms tend to be smaller, where 428 of Alaska's total of 990 farms are nine acres or smaller, therefore 428 small farms /990 total farms = 0.4323(*100) = 43.23% of farms in Alaska that are nine acres or smaller.