Group Title: Agricultural Economics Staff Paper
Title: Characteristics of Michigan's small farms
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095674/00001
 Material Information
Title: Characteristics of Michigan's small farms
Physical Description: 17 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hepp, Ralph E
Donor: unknown ( endowment )
Publisher: Michigan State University, Dept. of Agricultural Economics
Place of Publication: East Lansing
East Lansing
Publication Date: 1977
Copyright Date: 1977
 Subjects
Subject: Farms, Small -- Michigan   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States of America -- Michigan
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: Ralph E. Hepp.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: Agricultural Economics Staff Paper 77-73
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095674
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 435447207

Full Text


Agricultural Economics
Staff Paper No. 77-73


CHARACTERISTICS OF MICHIGAN'S SMALL FARMS

Ralph E. Hepp
Professor and Extension Specialist
Department of Agricultural Economics
Michigan State University

The contributions by small farms to Michigan's agriculture was documented

in Research Report 296, titled "Description and Analysis of Michigan Small

Farms" published by the Michigan State University Agricultural Experiment Station.

The report showed that over 85 percent of the state's farms are small and one-

third of all agricultural sales originate from small farms. Data was given on

the amount of crop and livestock production from small farms and small farm

productivity comparisons given with larger commercial operations. The research

report provided family characteristics, income situation, farm goals and capital

position for families living on small farms. Implications for extension and

research programs were extracted from the analysis.

Data sources for the previous research were interviews with a stratified

random sample of small farm operators and 1969 Census of Agriculture. This paper

supplements and updates information available on small farms from the 1974 Census

of Agriculture.

Number of Farms

The state continues to have a large number of small farms. For farming

operations, 85 percent or 54,437 farms are small while 6,848 farms or 11 percent

are medium size and four percent or 2,809 farms are large. Farm size is based

upon sales with small farms defined as those farms grossing under $40,000,

medium size farms defined as those grossing between $40,000 and $100,000, and

large farms defined as those grossing over $100,000.

The 1974 Census of Agriculture divides farms into agricultural operations

grossing less than $1,000 and farming operations grossing $1,000 and more.









Detailed farm information is provided for farming operations. The number and

percent of Michigan farms by occupation of the operator, age of the operator and

farm size is shown in Figure 1. Farm operators in the 1974 Census of Agricul-

ture were asked to indicate whether their principal occupation was farming or

an occupation other than farming. The occupation was defined as farming where

the operator spends 50 percent or more of his work time on the farm and a non-

farm occupation if the operator spends less than 50 percent of his work time

on the farm. Although most part-time farmers operate small farms (98%), 415

farmers operate medium sized farms and 85 operate large farms.

Over two-thirds of the full-time farmers operate small farms, 23 percent

medium sized farms and 9 percent large farms. Part-retired farmers usually

operate small farms, are collecting social security and are disinvesting capital

in their farming operations.

Land in Farms

Contrary to popular belief, the large farm operations do not control agricul-

tural land use, but the control and use is by small farm operators who farm almost

two-thirds of the land (Figure 2). Likewise, small farm operators rent a large

share of the 2.9 million acres of rented land in Michigan (Figure 3). Small

farms have a smaller land base or average 123 acres per farm versus average farm

size of 342 acres for medium sized farms and 631 acres for large farms.

Eighty percent of the small farms have less than 100 harvested crop acres

while 80 percent of the medium sized farms have 100 to 500 harvested crop acres.

Large farms also have a larger cropping program with 40 percent of the large

farms cropping over 500 acres. Table 1 shows the number and percent of farms

by acres harvested and farm size.

Farms by Type of Organization

The sole proprietorship form of business organization is typical on all










-3-


farm sizes (Table 2). Partnerships and corporations, although limited in number,

are common business organization types for medium and large farms.

Farm Operators by Age

Operators of small farms tend to be older than operators of medium and large

farms (Table 3). Ninety-five percent of the farm operators 65 years of age or

over operate small farms and 90 percent of the farm operators under 25 years of

age operate small farms.

Farms by Type

The 1974 Census of Agriculture classifies farms into a standard industrial

classification. The classification systems is based upon gross sales of like

commodities. Over half the small farms are cash grain and field crop farms and

one-third livestock and dairy farms (Table 4). A larger percent of the medium

and large farms are livestock, dairy and poultry farms.

Crop Production

Table 5 shows the acres of harvested crops for the major Michigan crops and

the percent of harvested crops by farm size. Small farms produce over 50 per-

cent of the hay, soybeans and wheat and almost half of the corn for grain.

Harvested fruit and vegetable acres are more commonly found on larger farms.

Crop yields on small farms are consistently lower than larger farms for

the major crops grown in Michigan (Table 6). Comparing yields between small

and large farms, large farms have 15 percent higher corn yields, 19 percent

higher wheat yields, 25 percent higher soybean yields and 37 percent higher hay

yields.























Figure 1. Number and percent of Michigan farms by
farm size; 1974 Census of Agriculture.


occupation of the operator, age of the operator and


: 68,952


Agricultural Operations

Number: 4,858
Percent: 7


Occupation Other Than Farming


Farming Operations

Number: 64,094
Percent: 93




Occupation Farming


Number: 29,164 Number: 34,438
Percent:. 46 Percent:, 54


Number: 2,320 Number: 26,844
Percent: 8 Percent:. 92


Number: 8,132 Number: 26,306
Percent: 24 Percent: 76


Number: 26,344
Percent: 98


Number: 415
Percent: 1.5


Number: 85
Percent: .5


Number: 18,011
Percent: 68


Number: 5,931
Percent: 23


Number: 2,364
Percent: 9



















SMALL 62%


LARGE
16%


MEDIUM
22%


FIGURE 2, PERCENT OF LAND IN FARMS BY FARM SIZE
























SMALL 44%


LARGE 25%




'o


MEDIUM 31%


FIGURE 3. PERCENT OF RENTED LAND BY FARM SIZE


















TABLE 1, NUMBER AND PERCENT OF FARMS BY ACRES HARVESTED AND FARM SIZE

FARM SIZE
ACRES HARVESTED SMALL MEDIUM LARGE
NUMBER PERCENT NUMBER PERCENT NUMBER PERCENT

1 TO 49 27,517 54 357 5 133 5

50 TO 99 13,282 26 568 8 94 3

100 TO 199 8,235 16 1,822 27 253 9

200 TO 499 2,297 4 3.606 53 1,171 43

500 TO 1,000 23 -- 387 6 873 32

1,000 AND OVER 2 -- 5 -- 211 8






















TABLE 2, NUMBER AND
FARM SIZE


PERCENT OF FARMS BY TYPE OF ORGANIZATION AND


FARM SIZE


TYPE OF ORGANIZATION


SMALL*
NUMBER PERCENT


MEDIUM LARGE
NUMBER PERCENT NUMBER PERCENT


SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP 35,055


PARTNERSHIP

CORPORATION


$2,500 SALES OR MORE.


1,792


5,738

1,008


110


1,834

752


*INFORMATION ON TYPE OF ORGANIZATION AVAILABLE ONLY ON SMALL FARMS WITH


220






















TABLE 3, PERCENT OF FARMS BY AGE OF OPERATOR AND FARM SIZE


FARM SIZE


AGE OF OPERATORS


SMALL


MEDIUM


LARGE


PERCENT OF FARMS


UNDER 25 YEARS

25 TO 44 YEARS

45 TO 64 YEARS

65 YEARS OR OVER


6 5








-10-


TABLE 4. PERCENT OF FARMS BY TYPE AND FARM SIZE


FARM SIZE


TYPE OF FARM


CASH GRAIN AND FIELD CROPS


LIVESTOCK


DAIRY


FRUIT AND VEGETABLE


GENERAL FARMS

NOT CLASSIFIED

POULTRY


SMALL *


LARGE


MEDIUM
PERCENT

30

9

40

14


*INFORMATION ON STANDARD INDUSTRIAL CLASSIFICATION AVAILABLE ONLY ON
SMALL FARMS WITH $2,500 SALES OR MORE.










-11-


TABLE 5. ACRES HARVESTED AND PERCENT OF HARVESTED CROPS BY FARM SIZE

FARM SIZE
CROPS HARVESTED ACRES SMALL MEDIUM LARGE
HARVESTED
PERCENT

HAY 1.,359,191 64 24 12

SOYBEANS 507,683 64 23 13

WHEAT 810,197 59 24 17

CORN FOR GRAIN 1,895,841 47 28 25

LAND IN ORCHARDS 167,747 38 29 34

VEGETABLES 106,952 30 21 49






















TABLE 6,


CROP YIELDS BY FARM SIZE


CROP


SMALL


FARM SIZE


MEDIUM


BUSHELS PER ACRE


CORN FOR GRAIN

WHEAT

SOYBEANS


TONS PER ACRE

2,49


-12-


LARGE


HAY


1.96


2.69









-13-


Livestock Production

Small farms are important in animal production especially beef cows and

sheep and lambs (Table 7). Hogs are also common on small farms. Dairy and

poultry are commonly found on medium size or large farms. Cattle fattening on

grain and concentrates, farms with $2,500 sales or more, number 259,659 head.

Large farms account for 61 percent of these cattle, medium sized farms show

16 percent and small farms 23 percent.

Enterprise Size

Table 8 shows the average size of enterprise for those farms producing the

products by farm size. As expected,small farms have small enterprises.

Income Situation

Only partial information is available from Census on the per farm income

situation (Table 9). Net farm income is the residual cash return for the

operator's labor, capital purchases and debt principal payments. Production

expenses do not include depreciation and other overhead costs, therefore only

limited conclusions can be drawn from the data. As expected, net cash income is

lower on small farms and off-farm income higher than on medium or large farms.

Although small farms make up 85 percent of the farm numbers, they only sell

one-third of the agricultural products.

Capital and Debt Situation

Complete information on capital assets and debts is not available and a

per farm net worth statement cannot be presented. Selected per farm data on

capital assets and debts is presented in Table 10 and shows that small farm

operators have fewer assets and debts than their larger neighbors.









-14-


TABLE 7, PERCENT OF ANIMAL PRODUCTION BY FARM SIZE

INVENTORY NUMBERS FARM SIZE
OF VARIOUS ANIMALS SMALL MEDIUM LARGE
PERCENT

SHEEP AND LAMBS 84 11 5

BEEF COWS 82 10 7

HOGS AND PIGS 42 26 32

DAIRY COWS 36 40 24

LAYING HENS 9 16 75







-15-


TABLE 8. AVERAGE SIZE OF ENTERPRISES FOR FARMS PRODUCING THE ENTER-
PRISE BY FARM SIZE


ENTERPRISE


SMALL


BEEF COWS, INVENTORY
MILK COWS, INVENTORY
HOGS AND PIGS, SOLD
LITTERS FARROWED
SHEEP AND LAMBS, SOLD


CORN
WHEAT
SOYBEANS
HAY


VEGETABLES
LAND IN ORCHARDS


FARM SIZE
MEDIUM
HEAD
33
51
293
50
110

ACRES
127
45
90
80
41
72


LARGE


64
108
869
156
198


298
105
143
121
130
179








-16-


TABLE 9.


PERCENT OF FARM SALES BY FARM SIZE AND AVERAGE FARM INCOME


AND EXPENSES BY FARM SIZE


INCOME AND EXPENSES
CATEGORY


SMALL


FARM SIZE
MEDIUM


MARKET VALUE OF ALL AGRI-
CULTURAL PRODUCTS: PERCENT

AVERAGE PER FARM:
SALES OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
PRODUCTION EXPENSES
NET CASH INCOME

FARM RELATED INCOME
FARM RELATED EXPENSES
NET CASH INCOME

FAMILY OFF-FARM INCOME


$8,889
6,745
$2,144

$ 303
112
$ 191

$7,577*


$61,444
41,802
$19,642

$ 975
238
$ 737

$ 3,646


$207,774
156,760
$ 51,014

$ 1,973
377
$ 1,596

$ 3,423


*INFORMATION ON OFF-FARM INCOME AVAILABLE
$2,500 SALES OR MORE,


ONLY ON SMALL


FARMS WITH


LARGE














TABLE 10. MARKET VALUE OF SELECTED CAPITAL ITEMS AND DEBTS BY FARM SIZE

FARM SIZE


SMALL*


MEDIUM
PER FARM


LARGE


LAND AND BUILDINGS
MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT
TOTAL

DEBTS
FARM DEBT
DIFFERENCE


$75,378
18,268
$93.,646


$ 7,064
$86,582


$198,045
44,690
$242,735


$ 29,417
$213,318


$400,392
78,052
$478,444


$ 89,631
$388,813


OR MORE.


ASSETS


*INFORMATION ON DEBTS ARE AVAILABLE ONLY FOR FARMS WITH $2,500 SALES




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs