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USDA: Nearly 40% of U.S. Farms Run by Multiple Operators
USAgNet - 03/02/2018

Commercial-sized farms often require more management and labor than an individual can provide. Additional operators can offer these and other resources, such as capital or farmland. Having a secondary operator may also provide a successor when an older principal operator phases out of farming.

In 2016, nearly 40 percent of all U.S. farms had a multiple operators. Because nearly all farms are family owned, family members often serve as secondary operators.

For example, 64 percent of secondary operators were spouses of principal operators.

Some multiple-operator farms were also run by multiple generations, with a difference of at least 20 years between the ages of the youngest and oldest operators.

These multiple-generation farms accounted for about 7 percent of all U.S. farms. Large-scale family farms and nonfamily farms were more likely to be operated by multiple generations, at about 20-25 percent of those farms.

However, the operators in nonfamily multiple-generation farms were likely unrelated managers from different generations.

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