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What's a small farm?

Published on May 1, 2013 3:01AM

Last changed on May 1, 2013 6:30AM

The USDA defines small farms as "farms with less than $250,000 gross receipts annually on which day-to-day labor and management are provided by the farmer and/or the farm family that owns the production or owns, or leases, the productive assets."

Marcia Ostrom and her small farms co-worker Colleen Donovan recently assembled a report showing just how big a role small farms play in Washington:

* Farms smaller than 49 acres account for 61 percent of the total number of farms. Farms 50 to 179 acres make up 19 percent.

* About 80 percent of farms earn $50,000 or less.

* Like other small businesses, small farms are valuable community assets, generating income and employment opportunities.

* Beyond their economic contributions, these farms serve critical environmental, aesthetic, cultural and social functions. A diverse array of productive, independently owned farms can ensure a dependable and accessible local food supply and the conservation of natural resources.


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