animal-raising claims

Small Family Farms Produce Majority of Poultry and Eggs, And Hay

Dan Pasture, Poultry

Small family chicken farm with free land chickens

USDA’s Economic Research Service reports most values of cotton, dairy and specialty crops are produced on large-scale family farms, according to 2020 data. USDA defines a family farm as one in which the principal operator and related family own the majority of the assets used in the operation. Large-scale family farms have an annual gross cash farm income of $1 million or more.

However, small family farms produced the bulk of hay production, 59 percent, and poultry and egg output, 49 percent, in 2020. Poultry operations are often classified as “small” because most output is under a production contract arrangement, with a contractor paying a fee to a farmer who raises poultry to maturity.


Additionally, more than one-quarter of beef production occurred on small family farms that generally have cow/calf operations. Another 42 percent of beef production occurred on large-scale family farms, which are more likely to operate feedlots.

(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)