(Updated April 2013)
On the surface, buying a farm has a very 'get away from it all' sort of appeal. The reality is that farming can be emotionally and financially stressful with success dependent upon many variables, including the weather, taxes, domestic and foreign competition, etc. The rewards, however, can be considerable. This field guide explores the pros and cons of owning farm property. (S. Hogan, Information & Web Content Specialist)
2012 Farm Acreage Statistics
- Number of farms in the United States: 2.2 million, down 11,630 farms from 2011.
- Total farmland acreage: 914 million acres, decreased 3 million acres from 2011.
- Average farm size: 421 acres, up one acre from the previous year. However, average farm sizes declined in all sales classes partially due to smaller farms moving up to higher sales classes.
- Texas leads the nation in farm acreage, with 128 million acres
Source: Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations: 2012 Summary (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Feb. 2013).
So You Want to Buy a Farm?
The Conservation Reserve Program Goes to Work for Beginning Farmers (National Young Farmers’ Coalition, Apr. 23, 2013).
Small Farm Business Advice for Beginning Farmers, (BeginningFarmers.org, 2011).
Farm Wisdom: Managing Risk on Small Farms Video Series, (Washington State Department of Agriculture, 2011).
Want to Make More than a Banker? Become a Farmer!, (Time, July 10, 2011).
Managing Risks on Your Small Farm, (Cornell Small Farms Program, n.d.).
The greenhorns guide for beginning farmers, (The Greenhorns, 2009).
Buying the farm: A good bet for rural retirees, (National Public Radio, June 3, 2009).
Financing Farm Property
Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans, (USDA Farm Service Agency, 2011).
Funding Resources (Loans/Grants), (BeginningFarmers.org, 2011).
Farm Banks Increased Agricultural Loans in 2010, (Texas Banking, Aug. 2011). Q
Farm Credit System on a Roll, (AgriMarketing, Sept. 2010).
Financing the Farm Operation, (University of Minnesota Extension, 2009).
Agricultural Property Values
Rising Farmland Values: Causes and Cautions, (Chicago Fed Letter, Feb. 2012). Q
Getting a Mortgage to Buy the Farm, (Bankrate.com, Nov. 10, 2011).
Finance and Economics: Golden acres; Buttonwood, (The Economist, Oct. 29, 2011). Q
Farmers Sense the End of Big Boom, (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 22, 2011).
Soaring Farmland Prices in U.S. Midwest Bring Fed Scrutiny of Rural Banks, (Bloomberg, Oct. 5, 2011).
Pricing the Good Earth, (Barron's, Dec. 24, 2010).
3 Reasons to Pay Attention to Farm Bill 2012, (HobbyFarms.com, Nov. 1, 2011).
The Rise of the Lazy Locavore, (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 13, 2010).
How to Start an Egg Business, (HobbyFarms.com, Summer 2010).
Starting a Small Hobby Farm, (SouthernStates.com, n.d.).
8 Tips for Beginner Farmers' Market Vendors, (HobbyFarms.com, n.d.).
Agricultural Statistics by State, (National Agriculture Statistics Service).
American Farm Bureau Federation, (fb.org).
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2013, (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition).
Farmer Mac, (FarmerMac.com).
Find Your Local USDA Office (USDA.gov).
Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, (Florida State University College of Law).
Publication 225 (2011), Farmer's Tax Guide, (IRS.gov).
Small Farm Funding Resources, (USDA Rural Information Center).
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800.874.6500 for assistance.
Farm appraisal principles, (Austin, TX: Sunbelt Eakin Press, 2002). HD 1393 Su8f
The appraisal of rural property, (Chicago, IL: The Appraisal Institute, 2000). HD 1393 Am3a
Appraisal & review guide for rural properties, (Alexandria, MN: The Appraisal Institute, 2000). HD 1387 M57
Field Guides & More
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