(Updated June 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
Ag Finance 101: How to Choose the Right Lender, (AG Web, May 27, 2013).
USDA: Loans for beginning, women, minority farmers, (SteubenCourier.com, May 16, 2013).
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
The Next Real Estate Bubble Has Already Begun, (But It’s Not What You Think), (Time, May 23, 2013).
Corn and Soybean Prices Driving Up Land Values and Farmer's Tax Bills, (Innovation Trail, May 23, 2013).
Are Farmland Prices Headed Towards A Plateau? (Farm Futures, May 21, 2013).
Farmland Price Boom Continues, but Pace Moderates, (Wall Street Journal blogs, May 15, 2013).
Rising Farmland Values: Causes and Cautions, (Chicago Fed Letter, Feb. 2012). Q
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.).
Food for Thought: Healthy Food Financing Initiative in Farm Bill, (The Food Trust, May 22, 2013).
Agricultural Statistics by State, (National Agriculture Statistics Service).
American Farm Bureau Federation, (fb.org).
American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, (ASFMRA.org).
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2013, (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition).
Farm Beginnings Program, (Land Stewardship Project).
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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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.