January 27, 2016

Family Farms Do Exist, Lots of Them

Ask most people across the United States what is happening to family farms, and they're likely to say that few of them exist anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The 2012 Census of Agriculture shows that 96 percent of corn farms in the United States are family-owned operations. What is a family farm? According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a family farm is any farm where the majority of the business is owned by the operator and individuals related to the operator--including through blood, marriage or adoption.

Hubert Harner, director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)--a division of USDA--said, "What we found is that family-owned businesses, while very diverse, are at the core of the United States agriculture industry." They are at the core of Nebraska's economy--and have been for generations. Many multi-generational family farms in Nebraska are using innovation, technology, research and talent to grow more with less--and ensure that their family farms stay productive and sustainable for future generations. One major crop that is grown here in Nebraska is corn. The eight types of corn grown in the state are: yellow dent corn, white corn, popcorn, blue corn, sweet corn, high-amylose corn, red corn, and ornamental corn. Yellow dent corn (field corn), the leading type of corn grown in Nebraska, is grown on a total of 8,936,885 acres and is primarily used for ethanol production and livestock feed. The "dent" appears in the corn kernels as the ear dries down for harvest. Overall, a total of 9,216,657 corn acres are planted in Nebraska each year.

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