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Full text of "United States census of agriculture: 1954"

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Vol. Ill - pt. 9 ch. IX 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUC 
IN THE UNITED STATES 

(A COOPERATIVE REPORT) 



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Agricultural Producers and Production 
in the United States— A General View 




SPECIAL REPORTS 




1954 

Census 

of 

Agriculture 




U. S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 

BUREAU OF THE CENSUS 



U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 

AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE 
WASHINGTON • 7956 



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U. S. Department of Agriculture 

Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary 

Agricultural Research Service 

Byron T. Shaw, Administrator 

U. S. Department of Commerce 

Sinclair Weeks, Secretary 

Bureau of the Census 

Robert W. Burgess, Director 



United States 

Census 

of 

Agriculture: 

1954 

Volume III 
SPECIAL REPORTS 

Part 9 

Farmers and Farm Production in the United States 

(A Cooperative Report) 



Chapter IX 

Agricultural Producers and 
Production in the United 
States — A General View 



CHARACTERISTICS OF FARMERS and FARM PRODUCTION 
PRINCIPAL TYPES OF FARMS • 





BUREAU OF THE CENSUS 
Robert W. Burgess, Director 



AGRICULTURE DIVISION 
Ray Hurley, Chief 
Warder B. Jenkins, Assistant Chief 



AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE 
Byron T. Shaw, Administrator 



FARM AND LAND MANAGEMENT RESEARCH 

Sherman E. Johnson, Director 



PRODUCTION ECONOMICS RESEARCH BRANCH 
Carl P. Heisig, Chief 



Boston Public Library 
Superintendent of Documents 

OCT 3 - 1957 



+W7.3I* 3 

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SUGGESTED IDENTIFICATION 

U. S. Bureau of the Census. U. S. Census of Agriculture.- 1954. Vol. Ill, Special Repor 

Part 9, Farmers and Farm Production in the United States. 

Chapter IX, Agricultural Producers and Production in the United States— A General Vi 

U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C, 1956. 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. 
or any of the Field Offices of the Department of Commerce, Price 40 cents (paper cover) 



PREFACE 



The purpose of this report is to present an analysis of the characteristics of farmers and farm production 
for the most important types of farms as shown by data for the 1954 Census of Agriculture. The analysis 
deals with the relative importance, pattern of resource use, some measures of efficiency, and problems of 
adjustment and change for the principal types of farms. 

The data given in the various chapters of this report have been derived largely from the special tabula- 
tion of data for each type of farm, by economic class, for the 1954 Census of Agriculture. The detailed 
statistics for each type of farm for the United States and the principal subregions appear in Part 8 of Volume 
III of the reports for the 1954 Census of Agriculture. 

This cooperative report was prepared under the direction of Ray Hurley, Chief of the Agriculture Divi- 
sion of the Bureau of the Census, U. S. Department of Commerce, and Kenneth L. Bachman, Head, Produc- 
tion, Income, and Costs Section, Production Economics Research Branch, Agricultural Research Service of 
the U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

Jackson V. McElveen, Agricultural Economist, Production, Income, and Costs Section, Production 
Economics Research Branch, Agricultural Research Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, super- 
vised a large part of the detailed planning and analysis for the various chapters. 



The list of chapters and the persons preparing each chapter i 



Chapter I Wheat Producers and Wheat 

Production 
A. W. Epp, 

University of Nebraska. 



Chapter II_ 



Chapter ITT 



Chapter IV_ 



Chapter V. 



Cotton Producers and Cotton 

Production 
Robert B. Glasgow, 
Production Economics Research 

Branch, 
Agricultural Research Service, 
United States Department of 

Agriculture. 

Tobacco and Peanut Producers 

and Production 
R. E. L. Greene, 
University of Florida. 

Poultry Producers and Poultry 

Production 
William P. Mortenson, 
University of Wisconsin. 

Dairy Producers and Dairy Pro- 
duction 
P. E. McNall, 
University of Wisconsin. 



Chapter VI. 



Chapter VII. 



Chapter VIII. 



Chapter IX, 



The editorial work for this report was performed by Caroline B. Sher 
statistical tables was supervised by Margaret Wood. 

December 1956 



Western Stock Ranches and Live- 
stock Farms 

Mont H. Saunderson, 

Western Ranching and Lands 
Consultant, 

Bozeman, Mont. 

Cash-grain and Livestock Pro- 
ducers in the Corn Belt 

Edwin G. Strand, 

Production Economics Research 
Branch, 

Agricultural Research Service, 

United States Department of 
Agriculture. 

Part-time Farming 
H. G. Halcrow, 
University of Connecticut. 

Agricultural Producers and Pro- 
duction in the United States — 
A General View 

Jackson V. McElveen, 

Production Economics Research 
Branch, 

Agricultural Research Service, 

United States Department of 
Agriculture. 

i, and the preparation of the 



UNITED STATES CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE: 1954 
REPORTS 



Volume I. — Counties and State Economic Areas. Statistics for counties include number of farms, acreage, value, and farm operators; 
farms by color and tenure of operator; facilities and equipment; use of commercial fertilizer; farm labor; farm expenditures; livestock and 
livestock products; specified crops harvested; farms classified by type of farm and by economic class; and value of products sold by source. 

Data for State economic areas include farms and farm characteristics by tenure of operator, by type of farm, and by economic class. 

Volume I is published in 33 parts. 

Volume H. — General Report. Statistics by Subjects, United States Census of Agriculture, 1954. Summary data and analyses of 
the data for States, for Geographic Divisions, and for the United States by subjects. 



Volume III. — Special Reports 

Part 1. — Multiple-Unit Operations. This report will be similar to 
Part 2 of Volume V of the reports for the 1950 Census of Agri- 
culture. It will present statistics for approximately 900 
counties and State economic areas in 12 Southern States and 
Missouri for the number and characteristics of multiple-unit 
operations and farms in multiple units. 

Part 2.— Ranking Agricultural Counties. This special report will 
present statistics for selected items of inventory and agricul- 
tural production for the leading counties in the United States. 

Part 3.— Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, and 
U. S. Possessions. These areas were not included in the 1954 
Census of Agriculture. The available current data from vari- 
ous Government sources will be compiled and published in 
this report. 

Part 4. — Agriculture, 1954, a Graphic Summary. This report will 
present graphically some of the significant facts regarding 
agriculture and agricultural production as revealed by the 1954 
Census of Agriculture. 

Part 5.— Farm-Mortgage Debt. This will be a cooperative study 
by the Agricultural Research Service of the U. S. Department 
of Agriculture and the Bureau of the Census. It will present, 
by States, data based on the 1954 Census of Agriculture and a 
special mail survey conducted in January 1956, on the num- 
ber of mortgaged farms, the amount of mortgage debt, and the 
amount of debt held by principal lending agencies. 

Part 6. — Irrigation in Humid Areas. This cooperative report by 
the Agricultural Research Service of the U. S. Department of 
Agriculture and the Bureau of the Census will present data ob- 
tained by a mail survey of operators of irrigated farms in 28 
States on the source of water, method of applying water, num- 
ber of pumps used, acres of crops irrigated in 1954 and 1955, 
the number of times each crop was irrigated, and the cost of 
irrigation equipment and the irrigation system. 

Part 7. — Popular Report of the 1954 Census of Agriculture. This 
report is planned to be a general, easy-to-read publication for 
the general public on the status and broad characteristics of 
United States agriculture. It will seek to delineate such as- 
pects of agriculture as the geographic distribution and dif- 
ferences by size of farm for such items as farm acreage, princi- 
pal crops, and important kinds of livestock, farm facilities, 
farm equipment, use of fertilizer, soil conservation practices, 
farm tenure, and farm income. 

Part 8. — Size of Operation by Type of Farm. This will be a coop- 
erative special report to be prepared in cooperation with the 
Agricultural Research Service of the U. S. Department of Agri- 
culture. This report will contain data for 119 economic sub- 



regions (essentially general type-of-farming areas) showing the 
general characteristics for each type of farm by economic class. 
It will provide data for a current analysis of the differences 
that exist among groups of farms of the same type. It will 
furnish statistical basis for a realistic examination of produc- 
tion of such commodities as wheat, cotton, and dairy products 
in connection with actual or proposed governmental policies 
and programs. 
Part 9. — Farmers and Farm Production in the United States. 
The purpose of this report is to present an analysis of the 
characteristics of farmers and farm production for the most 
important types of farms as shown by data for the 1954 Census 
of Agriculture. The analysis deals with the relative importance, 
pattern of resource use, some measures of efficiency, and prob- 
lems of adjustment and change for the principal types of farms. 
The report was prepared in cooperation with the Agricultural 
Research Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

The list of chapters (published separately only) and title 
for each chapter are as follows: 

Chapter I — Wheal Producers and Wheat Production 
II — Cotton Producers and Cotton Production 
III — Tobacco and Peanut Producers and Production 
IV — Poultry Producers and Poultry Production 

V — Dairy Producers and Dairy Production 
VI — Western Stock Ranches and Livestock Farms 
VII — Cash-Grain and Livestock Producers in the Corn 

Belt 
VIII— Part-Time Farming 
IX — Agricultural Producers and Production in the 
United Stales — A General View 
Part 10. — Use of Fertilizer and Lime. The purpose of this report 
is to present in one publication most of the detailed data com- 
piled for the 1954 Census of Agriculture regarding the use of 
fertilizer and lime. The report presents data for counties, 
State economic areas, and generalized type-of-farming areas 
regarding the quantity used, acreage on which used, and 
expenditures for fertilizer and lime. The Agricultural Research 
Service cooperated with the Bureau of the Census in the prep- 
aration of this report. 
Part 11. — Farmers' Expenditures. This report presents detailed 
data on expenditures for a large number of items used for farm 
production in 1955, and on the living expenditures of farm 
operators' families. The data were collected and compiled 
cooperatively by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the 
U. S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of the Census. 
Part 12. — Methods and Procedures. This report contains an 
outline and a description of the methods and procedures used 
in taking and compiling the 1954 Census of Agriculture. 



INTRODUCTION 



INTRODUCTION 



Purpose and scope. — American agriculture is exceedingly diverse 
and is undergoing revolutionary changes. Farmers and their 
families obtain their income by producing a large variety of 
products under a large variety of conditions as well as from sources 
other than farming. The organization of production, type of 
farming, productivity, income, expenditures, size, and character- 
istics of operators of the 4.8 million farms in the United States 
vary greatly. Agriculture has been a dynamic, moving, adjusting 
part of our economy. Basic changes in farming have been occurring 
and will continue to be necessary. Adjustments brought by tech- 
nological change, by changing consumer wants, by growth of 
population, and by changes in the income of nonfarm people, have 
been significant forces in changing agriculture since World War II. 
The transition from war to an approximate peacetime situation 
has also made it necessary to reduce the output of some farm 
products. Some of the adjustments in agriculture have not pre- 
sented relatively difficult problems as they could be made by the 
transfer of resources from the production of one product to another. 
Others require substantial shifts in resources and production. 

Moreover, a considerable number of farm families, many of whom 
are employed full time in agriculture, have relatively low incomes. 
Most of these families operate farms that are small when compared 
with farms that produce higher incomes. The acreage of land and 
the amount of capital controlled by the operators of these small 
farms are too small to provide a very high level of income. In 
recent years, many farm families on these small farms have made 
adjustments by leaving the farm to earn their incomes elsewhere, 
by discontinuing their farm operations, and by earning more non- 
farm income while remaining on the farm or on the place they 
farmed formerly. 

One objective of this report is to describe and analyze some of 
the existing differences and recent adjustments in the major types 
of farming and farm production. For important commodities and 
groups of farms, the report aims to make available, largely from 
the detailed data for the 1954 Census of Agriculture but in a more 
concise form, facts regarding the size of farms, capital, labor, and 
land resources on farms, amounts and sources of farm income and 
expenditures, combinations of crop and livestock enterprises, 
adjustment problems, operator characteristics, and variation in use 
of resources and in size of farms by areas and for widely differing 
production conditions. Those types of farms on which production 
of surplus products is important have been emphasized. The 
report will provide a factual basis for a better understanding of 
the widespread differences among farms in regard to size, resources, 
and income. It will also provide a basis for evaluating the effects 
of existing and proposed farm programs on the production and 
incomes of major types and classes of farms. 

Income from nonfarm sources is important on a large number 
of farms. About 1.4 million of the 4.8 million farm-operator 
families, or about 3 in 10, obtain more income from off-farm sources 
than from the sale of agricultural products. More than three- 
fourths of a million farm operators live on small-scale part-time 
farms and ordinarily are not dependent on farming as the main 
source of family income. These part-time farmers have a quite 
different relation to adjustments, changes, and farm problems 
than do commercial farmers. A description of and facts regarding 
these part-time farms and the importance of nonfarm income for 
commercial farms are presented in Chapter 8. 



Except for Chapter 8, this report deals with commercial farms 
(see economic class of farm) . The analysis is limited to the major 
types of agricultural production and deals primarily with geo- 
graphic areas in which each of the major types of agricultural 
production has substantial significance. 

Source of data. — Most of the data presented in this report are 
from special compilations made for the 1954 Census of Agriculture, 
although pertinent data from research findings and surveys of the 
U. S. Department of Agriculture, State Agricultural Colleges, and 
other agencies have been used to supplement Census data. The 
detailed Census data used for this report are contained in Part 8 of 
Volume III of the reports of the 1954 Census of Agriculture. 
Reference should be made to that report for detailed explanations 
and definitions and statements regarding the characteristics and 
reliability of the data. 

Areas for which data are presented. — Data are presented in 
this report primarily for selected economic subregions and for the 
United States. The boundaries of the 119 subregions used for the 
compilation of data on winch this report is based are indicated by 
the map on page vi. These subregions represent primarily general 
type-of-farming areas. Many of them extend into two or more 
States. (For a more detailed description of economic subregions, 
see the publication "Economic Subregions of the United States, 
Series Census BAE; No. 19, published cooperatively by the Bureau 
of the Census, and the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, U. S. 
Department of Agriculture, July 1953.) 

DEFINITIONS AND EXPLANATIONS 

Definitions and explanations are given only for some of the more 
important items. For more detailed definitions and explanations, 
reference can be made to Part 8 of Volume III and to Volume II of 
the reports of the 1954 Census of Agriculture. 

A farm. — For the 1954 Census of Agriculture, places of 3 or 
more acres were counted as farms if the annual value of agricultural 
products, exclusive of home-garden products, amounted to $150 
or more. The agricultural products could have been either for 
home use or for sale. Places of less than 3 acres were counted as 
farms only if the annual value of sales of agricultural products 
amounted to $150 or more. Places for which the value of agricul- 
tural products for 1954 was less than these minima because of crop 
failure or other unusual conditions, and places operated at the time 
of the Census for the first time were counted as farms if normally 
they could be expected to produce these minimum quantities of 
agricultural products. 

All the land under the control of one person or partnership was 
included as one farm. Control may have been through ownership, 
or through lease, rental, or cropping arrangement. 

Farm operator. — A "farm operator" is a person who operates 
a farm, either performing the labor himself or directly supervising 
it. He may be an owner, a hired manager, or a tenant, renter, or 
sharecropper. If he rents land to others or has land cropped for 
him by others, he is listed as the operator of only that land which 
he retains. In the case of a partnership, only one partner was 
included as the operator. The number of farm operators is con- 
sidered the same as the number of farms. 



VIII 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Farms reporting or operators reporting. — Figures for farms 
reporting or operators reporting, based on a tabulation of all farms, 
represent the number of farms, or farm operators, for which the 
specified item was reported. For example, if there were 11,922 
farms in a subregion and only 11,465 had chickens over 4 months 
old on hand, the number of farms reporting chickens would be 
11,465. The difference between the total number of farms and the 
number of farms reporting an item represents the number of farms 
not having that item, provided the inquiry was answered 
completely for all farms. 

Farms by type. — The classification of commercial farms by 
type was made on the basis of the relationship of the value of 
sales from a particular source, or sources, to the total value of all 
farm products sold from the farm. In some cases, the type of 
farm was determined on the basis of the sale of an individual farm 
product, such as cotton, or on the basis of the sales of closely re- 
lated products, such as dairy products. In other cases, the type 
of farm was determined on the basis of sales of a broader group of 
products, such as grain crops including corn, sorghums, all small 
grains, field peas, field beans, cowpeas, and soybeans. In order to 
be classified as a particular type, sales or anticipated sales of a 
product or group of products had to represent 50 percent or more 
of the total value of products sold. 

The types of commercial farms for w-hich data are shown, to- 
gether with the product or group of products on which the classi- 
fication is based are: 

Product or group of products amount- 
ing to 50 percent or more of the 
Type of farm value of all farm products sold 

Cash-grain Corn, sorghum, small grains, field 

peas, field beans, cowpeas, and 
soybeans. 

Cotton Cotton (lint and seed). 

Other field-crop Peanuts, Irish potatoes, sweet- 
potatoes, tobacco, sugarcane, sug- 
ar beets for sugar, and other 
miscellaneous crops. 

Vegetable Vegetables. 

Fruit-and-nut Berries and other small fruits, and 

tree fruits, nuts, and grapes. 

Dairv Milk and other dairy products. 

The criterion of 50 percent of the 
total sales was modified in the 
ease of dairy farms. A farm for 
which the value of sales of dairy 
products represented less than 50 
percent of the total value of farm 
products sold was classified as a 
dairy farm if — 

(a) Milk and other dairy prod- 
ucts accounted for 30 
percent or more of the 
total value of products 
sold, and 
(o) Milk cows represented 50 
percent or more of all 
cows, and 
(c) Sales of dairy products, to- 
gether with the sales 
of cattle and calves, 
amounted to 50 percent 
or more of the total 
value of farm products 



Poultry. 



Livestock farms other 
dairy and poultry. 



Chickens, eggs, turkeys, and other 

poultry products. 
Cattle, calves, hogs, sheep, goats, 

wool, and mohair, provided the 

farm did not qualify as a dairy 

farm. 



Type of fa 



Product or group of products amount- 
ing to 50 percent or more of the 
value of all farm products sold 

Farms were classified as general 

when the value of products from 
one source or group of sources 
did not represent as much as 50 
percent of the total value of all 
farm products sold. Separate 
figures are given for three kinds 
of general farms: 

(a) Primarily crop. 

(b) Primarily livestock. 

(c) Crop and livestock. 
Primarily crop farms are those for 

which the sale of one of the 
following crops or groups of 
crops — vegetables, fruits and 
nuts, cotton, cash grains, or other 
field crops — did not amount to 
50 percent or more of the value 
of all farm products sold, but 
for which the value of sales for 
all these groups of crops repre- 
sented 70 percent or more of the 
value of all farm products sold. 
Primarily livestock farms are those 
which could not qualify as dairy 
farms, poultry farms, or livestock 
farms other than dairy and 
poultry, but on which the sale 
of livestock and poultry and 
livestock and poultry products 
amounted to 70 percent or more 
of the value of all farm products 
sold. 
General crop and livestock farms are 
those which could not be classi- 
fied as either crop farms or live- 
stock farms, but on which the 
sale of all crops amounted to at 
least 30 percent but less than 70 
percent of the total value of all 
farm products sold. 

This group of farms includes those 

that had 50 percent or more of 
the total value of products ac- 
counted for by sale of horticul- 
tural products, or sale of horses, 
or sale of forest products. 

Farms by economic class. — A classification of farms by eco- 
nomic class was made for the purpose of segregating groups of 
farms that are somewhat alike in their characteristics and size of 
operation. This classification was made in order to present an 
accurate description of the farms in each class and in order to 
provide basic data for an analysis of the organization of agriculture. 

The classification of farms by economic class was made on the 
basis of three factors; namely, total value of all farm products 
sold, number of days the farm operator worked off the farm, and 
the relationship of the income received from nonfarm sources by 
the operator and members of his family to the value of all farm 
products sold. Farms operated by institutions, experiment sta- 
tions, grazing associations, and community projects were classified 
as abnormal, regardless of any of the three factors. 

For the purpose of determining the code for economic class and 
type of farm, it was necessary to obtain the total value of farm 
products sold as well as the value of some individual products 
sold. 

The total value of farm products sold was obtained by adding 
the reported or estimated values for all products sold from the 
farm. The value of livestock, livestock products except wool and 
mohair, vegetables, nursery and greenhouse products, and forest 



Miscellaneous. 



INTRODUCTION 



IX 



products was obtained by the enumerator from the farm operator 
for each farm. The enumerator also obtained from the farm 
operator the quantity sold for corn, sorghums, small grains, hays, 
and small fruits. The value of sales for these crops was obtained 
by multiplying the quantity sold by State average prices. 

The quantity sold was estimated for all other farm products. 
The entire quantity produced for wool, mohair, cotton, tobacco, 
sugar beets for sugar, sugarcane for sugar, broomcorn, hops, and 
mint for oil was estimated as sold. To obtain the value of each 
product sold, the quantity sold was multiplied by State average 
prices. 

In making the classification of farms by economic class, farms 
were grouped into two major groups, namely, commercial farms 
and other farms. In general, all farms with a value of sales of 
farm products amounting to $1,200 or more were classified as 
commercial. Farms with a value of sales of $250 to $1,199 were 
classified as commercial only if the farm operator worked off the 
farm less than 100 days or if the income of the farm operator and 
members of his family received from nonfarm sources was less than 
the total value of all farm products sold. 

Land in farms according to use.— Land in farms was classified 
according to the use made of it in 1954. The classes of land 
are mutually exclusive, i. e., each acre of land was included only 
once even though it may have had more than one use during the 
year. 

The classes referred to in this report are as follows: 

Cropland harvested. — This includes land from which crops 
were harvested; land from which hay (including wild hay) was 
cut; and land in small fruits, orchards, vineyards, nurseries, and 
greenhouses. Land from which two or more crops were reported 
as harvested was to be counted only once. 

Cropland used only for pasture. — In the 1954 Census, the 
enumerator's instructions stated that rotation pasture and all 
other cropland that was used only for pasture were to be in- 
cluded under this class. No further definition of cropland 
pastured was given the farm operator or enumerator. Per- 
manent open pasture may, therefore, have been included under 
this item or under "other pasture," depending on whether the 
enumerator or farm operator considered it as cropland. 

Cropland not harvested and not pastured. — This item includes 
idle cropland, land in soil-improvement crops only, land on 
which all crops failed, land seeded to crops for harvest after 
1954, and cultivated summer fallow. 

In the Western States, this class was subdivided to show 
separately the acres of cultivated summer fallow. In these 
States, the acreage not in cultivated summer fallow represents 
largely crop failure. There are very few counties in the West- 
ern States in which there is a large acreage of idle cropland or 
in which the growing of soil-improvement crops is an important 
use of the land. 

In the States other than the Western States, this general 
class was subdivided to show separately the acres of idle crop- 
land (not used for crops or for pasture in' 1954) . In these States, 
the incidence of crop failure is usually low. It was expected 
that the acreage figure that excluded idle land would reflect 
the acreage in soil-improvement crops. However, the 1954 
crop year was one of low rainfall in many Eastern and Southern 
States and, therefore, in these areas the acreage of cropland not 
harvested and not pastured includes more land on which all 
crops failed than would usually be the case. 

Cultivated summer fallow. — This item includes cropland 
that was plowed and cultivated but left unseeded for several 
months to control weeds and conserve moisture. No land 
from which crops were harvested in 1954 was to be included 
under this item. 

Cropland, total. — This includes cropland harvested, cropland 
used only for pasture, and cropland not harvested and not 
pastured. 

Land pastured, total. — This includes cropland used only for 
pasture, woodland pastured, and other pasture (not cropland 
and not woodland). 
423026—57 2 



Woodland, total. — This includes woodland pastured and 

woodland not pastured. 

Value of land and buildings. — The value to be reported was 
the approximate amount for which the land and the buildings on 
it would sell. 

Off-farm work and other income. — Many farm operators receive 
a part of their income from sources other than the sale of farm 
products from their farms. The 1954 Agriculture Questionnaire 
included several inquiries relating to work off the farm and non- 
farm income. These inquiries called for the number of days 
worked off the farm by the farm operator; whether other members 
of the operator's family worked off the farm; and whether the 
farm operator received income from other sources, such as sale 
of products from land rented out, cash rent, boarders, old age 
assistance, pensions, veterans' allowances, unemployment com- 
pensation, interest, dividends, profits from nonfarm business, 
and help from other members of the operator's family. Another 
inquiry asked whether the income of the operator and his family 
from off-farm work and other sources was greater than the total 
value of all agricultural products sold from the farm in 1954. 
Off-farm work was to include work at nonfarm jobs, businesses, 
or professions, whether performed on the farm premises or else- 
where; also, work on someone else's farm for pay or wages. Ex- 
change work was not to be included. 

Specified facilities and equipment. — Inquiries were made in 
1954 to determine the presence or absence of selected items on 
each place such as (1) telephone, (2) piped running water, (3) 
electricity, (4) television set, (5) home freezer, (6) electric pig 
brooder, (7) milking machine, and (8) power feed grinder. Such 
facilities or equipment were to be counted even though tem- 
porarily out of order. Piped running water was defined as water 
piped from a pressure system or by gravity flow from a natural 
or artificial source. The enumerator's instructions stated that 
pig brooders were to include those heated by an electric heating 
element, by an infrared or heat bulb, or by ordinary electric bulbs. 
They could be homemade. 

The number of selected types of other farm equipment was also 
obtained for a sample of farms. The selected kinds of farm 
equipment to be reported were (1) grain combines (for harvesting 
and threshing grains or seeds in one operation) ; (2) cornpickers ; 
(3) pickup balers (stationary ones not to be reported) ; (4) field 
forage harvesters (for field chopping of silage and forage crops) ; 
(5) motortrucks; (6) wheel tractors (other than garden); (7) 
garden tractors; (8) crawler tractors (tracklaying, caterpillar) ; 
(9) automobiles; and (10) artificial ponds, reservoirs, and earth 
tanks. 

Wheel tractors were to include homemade tractors but were not 
to include implements having built-in power units such as self- 
propelled combines, powered buck rakes, etc. Pickup and truck- 
trailer combinations were to be reported as motortrucks. School 
buses were not to be reported, and jeeps and station wagons were 
to be included as motortrucks or automobiles, depending on 
whether used for hauling farm products or supplies, or as passenger 
vehicles. 

Farm labor. — The farm-labor inquiries for 1954, called for the 
number of persons doing farmwork or chores on the place during 
a specified calendar week. Since starting dates of the 1954 enumer- 
ation varied by areas or States, the calendar week to which the 
farm-labor inquiries related varied also. The calendar week was 
September 26-October 2 or October 24-30. States with the 
September 26-October 2 calendar week were: Arizona, California, 
Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, 
Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, 
Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, 
Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, 
Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. States with the October 
24-30 calendar week were : Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, 
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North 
Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. 
Farmwork was to include any work, chores, or planning necessary 
to the operation of the farm or ranch business. Housework, 
contract construction work, and labor involved when equipment 
was hired (custom work) were not to be included. 

The farm-labor information was obtained in three parts: 
(1) Operators working, (2) unpaid members of the operator's family 
working, and (3) hired persons working. Operators were consid- 
ered as working if they worked 1 or more hours; unpaid members 
of the operator's family, if they worked 15 or more hours; and 
hired persons, if they worked any time during the calendar week 
specified. Instructions contained no specifications regarding age 
of the persons working. 

Regular and seasonal workers.- — Hired persons working on 
the farm during the specified week were classed as "regular" 
workers if the period of actual or expected employment was 150 
days or more during the year, and as "seasonal" workers if the 
period of actual or expected employment was less than 150 days. 
If the period of expected employment was not reported, the 
period of employment was estimated for the individual farm 
after taking into account such items as the basis of payment, 
wage rate, expenditures for labor in 1954, and the type and 
other characteristics of the farm. 

Specified farm expenditures. — The 1954 Census obtained data 
for selected farm expense items in addition to those for fertilizer 
and lime. The expenditures were to include the total specified 
expenditures for the place whether made by landlord, tenant, or 
both. 

Expenditures for machine hire were to include any labor in- 
cluded in the cost of such machine hire. Machine hire refers to 
custom machine work such as tractor hire, threshing, combining, 
silo filling, baling, ginning, plowing, and spraying. If part of the 
farm products was given as pay for machine hire, the value of the 
products traded for this service was to be included in the amount 
of expenditures reported. The cost of trucking, freight, and 
express was not to be included. 

Expenditures for hired labor were to include only cash pay- 
ments. Expenditures for housework, custom work, and contract 
construction work were not to be included. 

Expenditures for feed were to include the expenditures for 
pasture, salt, condiments, concentrates, and mineral supplements, 
as well as those for grain, hay, and mill feeds. Expenditures for 
grinding and mixing feeds were also to be included. Payments 
made by a tenant to his landlord for feed grown on the land rented 
by the tenant were not to be included. 

Expenditures for gasoline and other petroleum fuel and oil were 
to include only those used for the farm business. Petroleum 
products used for the farmer's automobile for pleasure or used 
exclusively in the farm home for heating, cooking, and lighting 
were not to be included. 

Crops harvested. — The information on crops harvested refers 
to the acreage and quantity harvested for the 1954 crop year. An 
exception was made for land in fruit orchards and planted nut 
trees. In this case, the acreage represents that in both bearing 
and nonbearing trees and vines as of October and November 1954. 

Hay. — The data for hay includes all kinds of hay except soy- 
bean, cowpea, sorghum, and peanut hay. 

Livestock and poultry. — The data on the number of livestock 
and poultry represent the number on hand on the day of enumera- 



tion (October-November 1954). The data relating to livestock 
products and the number of livestock sold relate to the sales made 
during the calendar year 1954. 

LABOR RESOURCES 

The data for labor resources available represent estimates based 
largely on Census data and developed for the purpose of making 
comparisons among farms of various size of operations. The 
labor resources available are stated in terms of man-equivalents. 
To obtain the man-equivalents the total number of farm opera- 
tors as reported by the 1954 Census were adjusted for estimated 
man-years of work off the farm and for the number of farm opera- 
tors 65 years old and over. The farm operator was taken to rep- 
resent a full man-equivalent of labor unless he was 65 years or 
older or unless he worked at an off-farm job in 1954. 

The man-equivalent estimated for farm operators reporting spec- 
ified amounts of off-farm work were as follows: 

Estimated 
Days worked off the farm in 1954 man-equivalent 

1-99 days 0.85 

100-199 days . 50 

200 days and over . 15 

The man-equivalent for farm operators 65 years of age and older 
was estimated at 0.5. 

Man-equivalents of members of the farm operator's family were 
based upon Census data obtained in response to the question 
"How many members of your family did 15 or more hours of farm 
work on this place the week of September 26-October 2 (or, in 
some areas, the week of October 24-30) without receiving cash 
wages?" Each family worker was considered as 0.5 man-equiva- 
lent. This estimate provides allowance for the somewhat higher 
incidence of women, children, and elderly persons in the unpaid 
family labor force. 

In addition, the number of unpaid family workers who were 
reported as working 15 or more hours in the week of September 
26-October 2 was adjusted to take account of seasonal changes in 
farm employment. Using published and unpublished findings of 
the U. S. Department of Agriculture and State Agricultural Col- 
leges, and depending largely upon knowledge and experience with 
the geographic areas and type of farming, each author deter- 
mined the adjustment factor needed to correct the number of 
family workers reported for the week of September 26-October 2 
to an annual average basis. 

Man-equivalents of hired workers are based entirely upon the 
expenditure for cash wages and the average wage of permanent 
hired laborers as reported in the 1954 Census of Agriculture. 

Value of or investment in livestock. — Numbers of specified 
livestock and poultry in each subregion were multiplied by a 
weighted average value per head. The average values were com- 
puted from data compiled for each kind of livestock for the 1954 
Census of Agriculture. The total value does not include the value 
of goats. (For a description of the method of obtaining the value 
of livestock, see Chapter VI of Volume II of the reports for the 
1954 Census of Agriculture.) 

Value of investment in machinery and equipment. — The data 
on value of investment in machinery and equipment were developed 
for the purpose of making broad comparisons among types and 
economic classes of farms and by subregions. Numbers of specified 
machines on farms, as reported by the Census, were multiplied by 
estimated average value per machine. Then the total values ob- 
tained were adjusted upward to provide for the inclusion of items 
of equipment not included in the Census inventory of farm 
machinery. 



INTRODUCTION 



M 



The estimates for average value of specified machines and the 
proportion of total value of all machinery represented by the 
value of these machines were based largely on published and un- 
published data from the "Farm Costs and Returns" surveys con- 
ducted currently by the Agricultural Research Service, U. S. 
Department of Agriculture. 1 Modifications were made as needed 
in the individual chapters on the basis of State and local studies. 
The total estimated value of all machinery for all types and 
economic classes of farms is approximately equal to the value of 
all machinery as estimated by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

Value of farm products sold, or gross sales. — Data on the 
value of the various farm products sold were obtained for 1954 by 
two methods. First, the values of livestock and livestock prod- 
ucts sold, except wool and mohair; vegetables harvested for sale; 
nursery and greenhouse products; and forest products were 
obtained by asking each farm operator the value of sales. Second, 
the values of all other farm products sold were computed. For the 
most important crops, the quantity sold or to be sold was obtained 
for each farm. The entire quantity harvested for cotton and 
cottonseed, tobacco, sugar beets for sugar, hops, mint for oil, and 
sugarcane for sugar was considered sold. The quantity of minor 
crops sold was estimated. The value of sales for each crop was 
computed by multiplying the quantity sold by State average 
prices. In the case of wool and mohair, the value of sales was 
computed by multiplying the quantity shorn or clipped by the 
State average prices. 

Gross sales include the value of all kinds of farm products sold. 
The total does not include rental and benefit, soil conservation, 
price adjustment, Sugar Act, and similar payments. The totsl 



does include the value of the landlord's share of a crop removed 
from a farm operated by a share tenant. In most of the tables, 
detailed data are presented for only the more important sources 
of gross sales and the total for the individual farm products 
or sources will not equal the total as the values for the less impor- 
tant sources or farm products have been omitted. (For a detailed 
statement regarding the reliability and method of obtaining the 
value of farm products sold, reference should be made to Chapter 
IX of Volume II of the reports for the 1954 Census of Agriculture.) 

Livestock and livestock products sold. — The value of sales for 
livestock and livestock products includes the value of live animals 
sold, dairy products sold, poultry and poultry products sold, and 
the calculated value of wool and mohair. The value of bees, 
honey, fur animals, goats, and goat milk is not included. 

The value of dairy products includes the value of whole milk and 
cream sold, but does not include the value of butter and cheese, 
made on the farm, and sold. The value of poultry and products 
includes the value of chickens, broilers, chicken eggs, turkeys, 
turkey eggs, ducks, geese, and other miscellaneous poultry and 
poultry products sold. The value does not include the value 
of baby chicks sold. 

Crops sold. — Vegetables sold includes the value of all vegetables 
harvested for sale, but does not include the value of Irish potatoes 
and sweetpotatoes. 

The value of all crops sold includes the value of all crops sold 
except forest products. The value of field crops sold includes the 
value of sales of all crops sold except vegetables, small fruits and 
berries, fruits, and nuts. 



i Farm Costs am] Return-;, ia.'i5 (with comparisons*, Aericulture Information Bulletin No. 1SK, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, June 1958. 



CHAPTER IX 

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS AND PRODUCTION IN THE 
UNITED STATES— A GENERAL VIEW 



(i) 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Major sectors in agriculture 7 

Economic classification of farms 9 

Commercial and noncommercial farms 9 

Part-time and residential farms 9 

Commercial farms 10 

Economic classes of commercial farms 10 

Economic class as a measure of farm size 10 

Geographic distribution of economic classes. 11 
Characteristics and limitations of the eco- 
nomic classification 12 

Types of commercial farms 12 

A measure of commodity specialization 13 

Geographic distribution of types of farms 13 

Cash-grain farms 13 

Cotton farms 13 

Other field-crop farms 13 

Vegetable farms 14 

Fruit-and-nut farms 14 

Dairy farms 14 

Poultry farms 15 

Livestock farms other than dairy and poul- 
try 15 

General farms 15 

Miscellaneous farms 16 

Type-of-farming areas 16 

Type of farm by economic class 17 

Changes in the structure of commercial farming 18 

Changes affect farmers differently 18 

Changes by economic classes 18 

Specialization in farming 19 

Changes in type of farm 20 

Changes in type by economic class 20 

Geographic changes in type and economic class _ . 21 

Changes in size of acreage 24 

Change in acreage by economic class 25 

Change in acreage by type of farm 26 

Changes in farm operator characteristics 26 

Age of operator 26 

Tenure of operator 27 

Off-farm work and other income 27 

Residence of farm operator 27 

Changes in farm resources 28 

Tractors on farms 28 

Land resources and market output 28 



Page 

Characteristics of type of farm by economic class 29 

Farm operator characteristics 29 

Color and tenure of operator 29 

Residence of farm operators 30 

Work off the farm and other income 30 

Age of operator 30 

Man-equivalents of labor used 31 

Operator labor 31 

Unpaid family labor 31 

Hired labor 32 

Cash wages paid 32 

Class of work power 34 

Land in farms 34 

Cropland harvested 37 

Value of land and buildings 38 

Value of livestock 40 

Estimated value of machinery 40 

Total value of investment 41 

Value of farm products sold 42 

Gross sales per acre 43 

Yield of corn per acre harvested 43 

Gross sales per $100 of capital investment 43 

Gross sales per man-equivalent 44 

Limitations of relating sales to resources 44 

Investment per man-equivalent 44 

Total farm expenses 45 

Cash wages 46 

Machine hire 47 

Purchase of livestock and poultry 47 

Feed for livestock and poultry 47 

Seeds, plants, and trees 47 

Commercial fertilizer and liming materials.. 47 
Fuel, repairs, and other operating costs for 

motor vehicles and farm machinery 48 

Marketing cost 48 

Miscellaneous farm operating expenses 48 

Property taxes and interest 48 

Capital expenditures 48 

Total motor vehicle and machinery expenses 48 

Census specified expenses 49 

Relation of Census specified expenses to total 

farm expenses 49 

Estimated value added 50 

Value added per man-equivalent 51 

Value added per $1,000 of capital investment. 51 

Home facilities. 52 

Electricity 52 

Index of home facilities 52 

3 



CONTENTS 
MAPS AND CHARTS 



Farm labor productivity 

Population: Total, non-farm, and farm, United States, 

1910 to 1954 

Number of farm operators working off their farms by num- 
ber of days worked, for the United States and areas, 

1930-1954 

Farm income and population 

United States farms 

Part-time farms, number, 1954 

Residential farms, number, 1954 

Commercial farms, number, 1954 

Economic Class I farms, number, 1954 

Economic Class II farms, number, 1954 

Economic Class III farms, number, 1954 

Economic Class IV farms, number, 1954 

Economic Class V farms, number, 1954 

Economic Class VI farms, number, 1954 

Cash-grain farms, number, 1954 

Cotton farms, number, 1954 

Other field-crop farms, number, 1954 

Vegetable farms, number, 1954 

Fruit-and-nut farms, number, 1 954 

Dairy farms, number, 1954 

Poultry farms, number, 1954 

Livestock farms, number, 1954 

General farms, number, 1954 



Page 

7 



Type-of-farming areas, based on type accounting for 50 
percent or more of commercial farms, 1954 

Cash-grain farms — increase and decrease in number, 
1950-1954 

Cotton farms — increase and decrease in number, 1950-1954. 

Other field-crop farms — increase and decrease in number, 
1950-1954 .. 

Vegetable farms — increase and decrease in. number, 
1950-1954 ... — . I 

Fruit-and-nut farms — increase and decrease in number, 
1950-1954 

Dairy farms — increase and decrease in number, 1950-1954. 

Poultry farms — increase and decrease in number, 1950-1954. 

Livestockfarms — increase and decrease in number, 1950-1954. 

General farms — -increase and decrease in number, 1950-1954. 

Economic Class I farms — increase and decrease in number, 
1950-1954 ... 

Economic Class II farms — increase and decrease in num- 
ber, 1950-1954 

Economic Class III farms — increase and decrease in num- 
ber, 1950-1954 

Economic Class IV farms — increase and decrease in num- 
ber, 1950-1954 

Economic Class V farms — increase and decrease in number, 
1950-1954 

Economic Class VI farms — increase and 
ber, 1950-1954 



TABLES 



Table— 

1. — Farms and specified farm resources by economic class of commercial farm, for the United States: 1954 

2, — Number of farms in each type of farm by economic class, for the United States: 1954 

3. — Percent distribution of farms in each type of farm by economic class, for the United States: 1954 

4. — Percent distribution of farms in each economic class, by type of farm, for the United States: 1954 

5. — Changes in number and percent distribution of commercial farms, by economic class, for the United States: 1950 to 1954... 
6. — Number and proportion of farms having production or sales of specified commodities, for the United States by specified 

years: 1929 to 1954 

7. — Changes in number and percent distribution of commercial farms, by type of farm, for the United States: 1950 to 1954 

8. — Change in number of farms, for each type of commercial farm, by economic class, for the United States: 1950 to 1954 ... 

9. — Changes in number of farms by size and percent distribution of commercial farms by size, for the United States: 1950 



Page 

16 

22 
22 

22 

22 

22 
22 
23 
23 
23 

24 

24 

24 

24 

24 

24 



Page 
11 

17 
17 
17 



to 1954. 



10. — Number and percent distribution of farms, 1954, and change in number of farms, 1950 to 1954; by size and economic class, 
for the United States 

11. Number and percent distribution, 1954, and change in number of farms, 1950 to 1954; by size and type of farm, for the United 
States 

12. — Specified farms and farm-operator characteristics, by type and by economic class for commercial farms, for the United States: 
1950 and 1954 

13.— Specified farm resources, percent 1954 is of 1950, by economic class and by type of farm, for the United States .. 

14. — Proportion of farms operated by owners, part-owners, and managers, and croppers, and by white and nonwhite operators, 

for each type of farm by economic class, for the United States: 1954 

15. — Percent distribution of farms in each tenure and color group by type and economic class of farm, for the United States: 1954. 

16. — Percent of nonresident operators for type of farm by economic class, for the United States: 1954 

17. — Operators working off the farm 100 or more days as percentage of operators reporting as to off -farm work, for each type of 

farm, by economic class, for the United States: 1954 

18. — Percentage of farms with other income greater than the value of farm products sold, for each type of farm, by economic class, 

for the United States: 1954 

19. — Median age of operator for type of farm by economic class, for the United States: 1954 

20. — Average man-equivalents of labor used on each type of farm by economic class, for the United States: 1954 

21. — Percentage of farms reporting $5,000 or more cash wages paid, for each type of commercial farm, by economic class, for the 

United States: 1954. -.— 

22. — Percentage distribution of commercial farms in each type, by economic class of farm, by amount of expenditure for hired 

labor, for the United States: 1954 

23. — Class of work power: Percentage distribution of farms by type and by specified economic classes, for the United States: 1954.. 

24. — Percent distribution of total land for each economic class, by type of farm, for the United States: 1954 

25. — Percent distribution of total land in farms for each type of commercial farm, by economic class, for the United States: 1954.. 
26. — Average size of farm for each type of commercial farm, by economic class, for the United States: 1954 



CONTENTS 5 

TABLES— Continued 

Table— l'"0t 

27. — Number of farms in specified acreage-size groups for each type of commercial farm, by economic class, for the United States: 

1954 36 

28. — Cropland harvested as a percent of total land in farms for each type of farm, by economic class of farm, for the United States: 

1954 1 37 

29. — Percent distribution of total acreage of cropland harvested for each type of commercial farm by economic class, for the United 

States: 1954 37 

30. — Percent distribution of total acreage of cropland harvested for each economic class, by type of farm, for the United States: 

1954 37 

31. — Average acreage of cropland harvested per farm for each type of commercial farm, by economic class, for the United States: 

1954 37 

32. — Average value per acre of land and buildings for each type of commercial farm, by economic class, for the United States: 1954_ 38 
33. — Percent distribution of value of land and buildings by type and economic class of commercial farms, for the United States: 

1954 38 

34. — Average value of investment in land and buildings, livestock inventory, machinery, and total investment for each type of 

commercial farm, by economic class, for the United States: 1954 39 

35. — -Percentage of total investment by source for each type of commercial farm, by economic class, for the United States: 1954__ 41 

36. — Percent distribution of total investment by economic class and by type of farm, for the United States: 1954 42 

37. — -Percent distribution of gross sales for each type of farm by economic class, for the United States: 1954 42 

38. — Average value of farm products sold per farm by type and economic class, for the United States: 1954 42 

39. — Value of all farm products sold per acre of total land in farms, by type of commercial farm by economic class of farm, for the 

United States: 1954 43 

40. — Yield per acre of corn harvested for grain, by type of commercial farm and by economic class of farm, for the United States: 

1954 43 

41. — Value of all farm products sold per $100 of capital invested in land and buildings, livestock, and machinery, by type of com- 
mercial farm by economic class of farm, for the United States: 1954 43 

42. — Value of all farm products sold per man-equivalent of labor used, by type of commercial farm by economic class of farm, for 

the United States: 1954 44 

43. — Capital investment in land and buildings, livestock and machinery per man-equivalent of labor used, by type of commercial 

farm by economic class of farm, for the United States : 1954 44 

44. — Cash farm expenditures: Average per farm by type of farm by economic class, for the United States: 1955 45 

45. — Cash farm expenditures as a percentage of total farm expenditure, by type of farm, by economic class of farm, for the United 

States: 1955 46 

46. — Percent distribution of each expenditure by type of farm, for the United States: 1955 47 

47. — -Expenses for purchase and operation of motor vehicles, farm machinery, and equipment as a percentage of total farm expen- 
diture, by type and economic class of commercial farm, for the United States: 1955 48 

48. — Specified farm expenses, average per farm and as a percentage of the total value of farm products sold, by type of farm by 

economic class, for the United States: 1954 49 

49. — Specified group of farm expense items as a percentage of the total cash farm expenses, by type of farm by economic class, for 

the United States: 1955 49 

50. — Estimated value added per farm by type of farm by economic class, for the United States: 1954 50 

51. — Estimated value added as a percent of the total value of farm products sold, by type of farm by economic class: 1954 51 

52. — Estimated value added per man-equivalent by type of farm, by economic class, for the United States: 1954 51 

53. — Estimated value added per $1,000 of capital investment in land and buildings, machinery and livestock inventory, by type 

of farm by economic class, for the United States : 1954 51 

54. — Percent of farms reporting electricity by type of farm by economic class, for the United States: 1954 52 

55. — Index of specified home facilities, commercial farms by economic class and type, for the United States: 1954 52 



4-.Mir.iti— 57 3 



AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS AND PRODUCTION IN THE UNITED STATES 

A GENERAL VIEW 

Jackson V. McElveen 
MAJOR SECTORS IN; AGRICULTURE 



One of the striking features of American agriculture is the 
diversity of farming — the differences in crops and livestock grown 
on farms in various areas, the wide range in size of farms, and the 
contrast in the way farm resources are used. 

In a Nation so vast in land area, there are wide variations in 
topography, climate, and soils. The terrain varies from alluvial 
reaches and flat coastal plains and prairies, to rolling hills, to 
mountain valleys, and plateaus. Soil types differ in composition 
and fertility and in their adaptability for crops and grasses. 
Climatic conditions range from semitropical in the southernmost 
parts of the country to cooler northern areas that have a growing 
season of only a few months; and from the relatively heavy rainfall 
of the East to some western regions where the rainfall can support 
only the sparsest vegetation. 

Along with growth and development of the Nation's economy, 
basic changes have taken place that have created even greater 
differences in economic environments. Some of these differences 
have been due to shifts in concentrations of population and mar- 
kets, to changes in consumer food habits, and to developments in 
processing and transportation of farm products. Others relate 
to technological improvements in farming that have increased 
the total farm production while reducing the need for so many 
farm workers. 

Differences in farming over the United States are explainable 
largely in terms of man's efforts in adapting himself to his environ- 
ment. Each farmer makes the decisions of how to use the land, 
labor, and capital resources at his disposal. His decisions are 
made within the framework of his appraisal of his environment 
and of the relative advantage of alternative courses of action. 
Because the environment is constantly changing, the process is 
never complete but one of continuous adjustment to changing 
conditions in both farm and nonfarm sectors of the economy. 

Changes that affect agriculture have been particularly rapid in 
recent decades. Technological developments in farming have 
brought about substantial increases in crop and livestock yields. 
Substitution of tractors for workstock has meant that many 
acres that were used previously to produce feed for workstock 
are now devoted to production for human use. The result has 
been a phenomenal increase in farm output. 

Mechanization of farming has enabled a smaller farm labor 
force to tend and harvest this larger farm output. The output 
per man-hour of farm labor has increased by nearly 3 times since 
1910. (See figure 1.) Farmers have been faced with the fact 
that fewer people are required to produce the foods and fibers for 
a growing population off the farms. 

At the same time, growth and expansion of the economy has 
provided increasing job opportunities in the nonfarm sector. 
Many farm people, particularly farm youth, have left for other 
occupations. The farm population has decreased by 10 million 
since 1910 and now comprises only an eighth of the total popu- 
lation in the United States. (See figure 2.) 



FARM LABOR PRODUCTIVITY 

% OF 1947-49 - ! 




1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 




Figure 2. 

Growth in the agricultural sector has been accompanied by 
changes in the nature and purpose of individual farm units. 
Production of many enterprises such as dairying and poultry 
have Income more specialized. Many farmers have increased 
the scope and efficiency of their farming through the application 
of improved techniques. At the same time, the pull of oppor- 
tunities elsewhere has persuaded others to reduce the size of their 
farm businesses and to take up work in nearby towns and factories. 
Now that electrification and farm-to-market roads have brought 
city conveniences to all but the remote rural areas, many city 
workers have moved to the country. Some of these rural residents 
raise farm products for home use and incidental sales. 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Included in the rural farm population are many farm operators 
and members of their families who work at other jobs and busi- 
nesses. (See figure 3.) More than 2 million farm operators 
reported working off their farms in 1950 and in 1954. Of greater 
significance in respect to levels of off-farm work, is the number 
of farm operators who worked off the farm 100 or more days. 
This figure indicates that off-farm work provides a major source of 
employment and income. Most of the farm operators in this 
group worked off their farms 200 or more days. While the number 
of operators working off their farms less than 100 days has de- 
creased in recent years, those working off the farm 100 days or 
more has increased in each part of the country. 



Off-farm work of operators is a major indication of the increasing 
importance of nonfarm sources of income to farm people. In 
addition, many other members of the families — wives and chil- 
dren — work at jobs removed from the farm. Moreover, many 
farm people now receive annuities or money from investment funds 
and savings as a result of the greater coverage of the population 
in provisions for retirement and for social security, as well as 
the general increase in income levels. The income to farm families 
from nonfarm sources has grown steadily since the 1930's; in 
1954 it accounted for nearly a third of the farm family income. 
(See figure 4.) 



NUMBER OF FARM OPERATORS WORKING OFF THEIR FARMS BY NUMBER OF DAYS 
^WORKED, FOR UNITED STATES AND AREAS, 1930-1954 




Figure 
Since the total number of farms has been decreasing, the 
proportion of operators working off farm 100 or more days has 
increased more than the increase in the number alone would 
indicate. The table below shows this proportion for the United 
States and major geographic regions from Censuses of 1930 to 
1954. For the United States this increase was from 12 percent of 
the farms in 1930 to 28 percent in 1954. The increase has been 
much more rapid in the South than in other regions— from 11 
percent of the farms in 1930 to 30 percent in 1954. 



Year 


Percent of all farm operators working 
off farm 100 or more days 




United 
States 


The 
North 


The 
South 


The 
West 


iml 


Percent 
11.5 
16.8 
18.4 
23.9 
28.3 


Percent 
11.1 
16.6 
17.8 
22.0 
25.3 


Percent 
10.8 
15.8 
18.1 
24.3 
29.6 


Percent 
17.8 
24.0 
27.1 
31.5 
35.2 






1949= 

1964* 



FARM INCOME AND POPULATION 



— I 1 

Farm population 
I \ 



"MIL. PERSONS 




A GENERAL VIEW 



Merging of farm and nonfarm sectors of our economy created 
a zone in farming that is in contrast to commercial agriculture. 
In this zone farming provides only supplementary income, and 
farm-production plans are influenced by considerations that affect 
employment in the nonfarm sector of the economy. 

ECONOMIC CLASSIFICATION OF FARMS 

In delineation of major sectors in agriculture, a basic step is 
the separation of the farms that are operated to provide the major 
source of employment and income to the farm family from the 
places that serve primarily as rural homes lor urban workers. 
The economic classification of farms, developed by the Bureau 
of the Census and the Department of Agriculture, separates farms 
into two broad categories — commercial farms and other farms. The 
basis for separation is the value of farm sales, the off-farm work, 
and the other income of the operator family. 

In the economic classification, all farms with a value of farm 
products sold of $1,200 or more were considered commercial 
farms. Indications are that most of the farms with farm sales 
above this amount are operated to provide a major source of 
farm-family income. In addition, farms with sales of $250 to 
$1,199 were classified as commercial provided the farm operator 
was not employed at an off -farm job as much as 100 days during 
the year and provided the gross income from farm sales exceeded 
other income of the family. 

The category of other farms includes part-time, residential, and 
abnormal farms. Residential farms are those having farm sales 
of less than $250. On these, the size of business is small enough 
to preclude the likelihood of their being operated to provide the 
major source of income and employment for the operator family. 
Part-time farms are those with farm sales of $250 to $1,199 but 
whose operators work 100 or more days of the year at a nonfarm 
job, or report that income received by the family from other 
sources is greater than sales from the farm. Abnormal farms are 
mainly public and private institutional farms, such as college, 
prison, community, experiment station farms, and grazing asso- 
ciations. 

The separation of commercial farms from those that are part- 
time and residential defines two distinct sectors within agriculture 
with marked differences in economic interests. Commercial 
farms are the going concerns in agriculture that produce virtually 
all of the farm products for sale. The separation of this group 
of farms for special study provides an improved basis for analysis 
of production problems and gives greater form and meaning to 
comparisons of income and of efficiency within agriculture and 
between farm and nonfarm sectors of the economy. 

Commercial and Noncommercial Farms 

The other or noncommercial farms are numerous, accounting 
for approximately a third of all farms in the United States in 
1954. (See table below.) 



Classification 


Number 
of farms 


Land in 


Cropland 

harvard 


Value of 

land and 
bmldincs 


Value of 

pmdiirls 
sold 




Percent 
100.0 

69.6 
30.4 


Percent 
100.0 

89.0 


Percent 
100.0 

96.2 
3.8 


Percent 
100.0 

87.9 
12.1 


Percent 















Activity on these farms is not oriented to commercial agriculture. 
This is supported best by the relatively small volume of farm sales, 
which amounted to less than 2 percent of all farm products sold. 
Commercial farms comprised over two-thirds of the total number 
of farms and accounted for 89 percent of the land in farms, 96 
percent of the cropland harvested, 88 percent of the investment in 
land and buildings, and produced 98percenl of the market sales in 
1954. 

The total number of farms has decreased from 6.3 million in 1930 
to 4.8 million in 1954, a decrease of 1.5 million. (See figure 5.) 
Commercial farms have declined by 1.6 million which is at a more 
rapid rate than the decrease in all farms. • The decrease in com- 
mercial farms has been partly offset by an increase in part-time 
and residential units. A substantial part of the decrease in farm 
numbers between 1930 and 1954 was among the small subsistence 
units. These are places that have farm sales of less then $250 
and no apparent sources of income other than from the farm. 



U. S. FARMS 








1950 1954 



Figure 5. 

Part-time and residential farms. — The increase in part-time 
farming is the result of numerous factors associated with general 
growth and development of both farm and nonfarm sectors of the 
economy. Farmers have not shared equally in the benefits from 
improved technology. Hilly land and small fields limited the 
adaptability of machines in some areas. Many operators of small 
farms have not found it economic to use even the smallest of the 
tractors and machines. At the same time, there has been a 
tremendous increape in retail and other services in rural areas 
because of the increasing proportion of farm inputs being bought 
by farmers as well as the larger disposable incomes of farm people. 
This, along with continued expansion of industries in the open 
country and small towns has provided local alternatives to farming. 

Earnings from farming on some of the smaller units were less 
than nonfarm wages, so farmers and members of their families 
took advantage of attractive jobs nearby. Many continued to 
farm while commuting to other work nearby. 

Part-time and residential farms are located in most parts of the 
country, but are most numerous in the South. Concentrations are 
noticeable throughout the Appalachian and Cumberland Moun- 
tains and in the vicinity of many of the larger cities. 

' The data In figure 5 are not entirely comparable with the current Census economic classification since the criteria for separation of part-time from commercial were applied to 
farms in the $1,200 to $2,499 value group. See McElveen, J. V., Family Farms in a Changing Economy. Agriculture Information Bulletin 171, Economics Research Division, ARS, 
USDA, March 1957. 



10 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



f^^p^-^-pJGROSS SALES $ 

UNITED STATES TOTAL \ 
574. 575 \ 


PART-TIME 

250 TO SI.I99-F 

NUMBER. 


i aw; 


JCTS MINOR SOURCE OF INCOME*) 

Si 

fV 

100 FARMS \ 1 


1=^ 




^ 


^vf 






inr 



| *?— 


RESIDENTIAL FARMS 

(GROSS SALES LESS THAtJ $250) 
NUMBER. 1951 


rv. 




L^~4~ 


p .^'f^ 




J~~~tu 






;■-- 1 


•■"m 

'-€.: 


V 


UNITED STATES TOTAL 
878. 136 


\ 




\ 




W 


IDOT- 100 FARMS V^ 


>L ._ 



Figure 7. 

The higher incidence of part-time and residential farms in the 
SoutrTis owing partly to the more recent industrial development 
there. Growth in manufacturing, in industries, and in trades and 
services coincided with other developments such as improvement 
of roads and the prevailing use of automobiles, which made it 
possible for farm people to commute to jobs in town, while con- 
tinuing to live on the farms. Rural electrification made city 
conveniences possible in many rural homes and reduced some of 
the incentive for moving to town. An important factor has been 
the tendency of the manufacturing industries in the South to 
decentralize by locating their plants throughout many semirural 
areas. Also, the South contains a higher proportion of small, low- 
income farms than other broad regions of the country. Farm 
families on these small farms have probably had the greatest 
incentive to supplement their incomes through off-farm work. 

A detailed analysis of part-time farming appears in chapter S 
of this report. 

Commercial farms. — Commercial farms have a more general 
and widespread distribution over the United States than is true 
of the noncommercial farm categories. In most areas east of 
the 100th meridian there is a uniform and fairly heavy concen- 
tration of commercial farms. The density in the Mississippi 
River flood plains of Arkansas and Mississippi, the tobacco 
country of the Carolinas, and other scattered locations, reflect 
the larger numbers of small farms in these areas. The Corn Belt 
States of Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio have a uniformly 
heavy concentration of commercial farms that is due to the high 
proportion of land open and suitable for farming. 



COMMERCIAL FARMS 










IDOT. 500 FARMS 



X) 



The small number of commercial farms in most of the western 
half of the United States reflects the low average productivity 
of a region that has rough terrain and limited rainfall. The 
farms are large, on the average, except where irrigation has been 
developed. In the West, wherever large numbers of farms are 
clustered, the presence of irrigation is indicated. Exceptions 
are the Willamette Valley of Oregon and the Puget Sound country 
of Washington, where rainfall is sufficient to allow a variety of 
crops to be grown without irrigation. 

Economic Classes of Commercial Farms 

The commercial farms are divided into six economic classes on 
the basis of the value of farm products sold. The criteria for 
separating commercial from noncommercial farms and for deline- 
ating the economic classes of commercial farms are shown in the 
table which follows. 





Criteria 


Economic class of farm 


Value of farm products 
sold 


Other 










$25,001) or more 

$10, I to $24,099 

$:i.oiio to $9,999 

$2, .Mill to $1,999 

$1,200 to $2,499 








Class III 


None' 














by operator and income of opera- 
tor and members of his family 
from nonfarm sources less than 
value of all farm products sold. 

Total of categories below. 










more days or other incomo of 
family greater than value of all 
farm products Sold. 






Public and private institutional 
farms, experiment stations, etc. 







Economic class as a measure of farm size. — One of the major 
uses of the economic classes of commercial farms is in broad 
analysis of the structure of farming. Information is needed on 
the extent to which producers on different sizes of farms have 
been able to make adjustments in production and take advantage 
of new techniques that have proved efficient. The economic 
classification, being based on gross sales of farm products, also 
provides an indirect measure of relative levels of farm income and 
its distribution. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



11 



There is today a great public interest in the size structure of 
farming. This is because of a real concern about the future of 
family-type farms. These are farms on which the management 
and most of the capital and labor are furnished by the operator 
and members of his family. The apparent growth in the size of 
farms and the reduction in the number of farms in recent years, 
have made people wonder whether the family type of farm is 
declining in importance as the major production unit in the 
Nation's agriculture. As farming on a commercial scale today re- 
quires large capital investments, a question is raised as to the 
ability of farm families to compete in the adopt inn of new 
techniques designed to increase efficiency and output. 

Table 1. — Farms and Specified Farm Resources by Eco- 
nomic Class of Commercial Farm, for the United States: 
1954 





Number 

of farms 


Average per farm 


Economic class of farm 


Land in 


Value of 
land and 
buildings 


Expend- 
iture fin- 
bbed 
labor 


Value of 
farm 

product-: 

sold 




Thou- 

3,328 
134 
449 
707 
812 
764 
463 


Acres 
310.3 

1,939.1 
537.8 
311.9 
201.0 
134.3 


Dollars 
25. 429 

134. 169 
51,610 
27, 992 
15.880 

6^096 


Dollars 
665 
8,342 
1,166 
422 
214 
106 
43 


Dollars 
7,302 

57, 997 
14,883 
7,178 














756 






Percentage distribution 




100.0 
4.0 
13.5 
21.2 
24 4 
22.9 
13.9 


100.0 
25.2 
23.4 
21.4 
15.8 
9.9 


100.0 

22.2 
27.4 

15! T 
8.8 
3.3 


100.0 
50.5 
23.6 
13.5 
7.8 
3.7 
0.9 


100 




27^5 
20.9 
12.4 
5.8 

















Class I farms represent the relatively few large operations that 
had gross sales of $25,000 or more in 1954. As a group, these 
farms are characterized by large acreages and large investments in 
land and buildings. They use considerable hired labor. The 
average wage bill amounted to $8,342 per farm in 1954. Although 
comprising only 4 percent of the commercial farms, Class I farms 
accounted for 25 percent of the land in farms and 22 percent of 
the investment in land and buildings. They produced nearly a 
third of the farm products sold in 1954. 

Economic Classes II, III, and IV represent, by and large, the 
medium to high income family farms that are an outstanding 
characteristic of American agriculture. They cover a fairly wide 
range in value of farm products sold, from $2,500 to $24,999. 
These farms as a group comprise the largest segment of commercial 
agriculture in respect to both numbers and value of production. 

Class V farms had sales of farm products that ranged from $1,200 
to $2,499. Class VI farms sold between $250 and $1,199 of farm 
products. By definition, operators of Class VI farms did not work 
off the farm as much as 100 days during the year and gross farm 
sales exceeded the income of the farmer and his family from off- 
farm sources. Although farms in these two classes comprised 37 
percent of the commercial farms, they accounted for only 7 percent 
of the sales of all farm products. The small size of farm business 



on these farms is indicated by the relatively small acreage and 
small investment in land and buildings. 

Geographic distribution of economic classes. — The geographic 
distribution of each of the six economic classes of Commercial farms 
is shown on the accompanying maps. 

Class I farms are most numerous in Illinois, Iowa, the High 
Plains of Texas, and the irrigated parts of California. Many 
Class I farms, particularly in Iowa and Illinois, are livestock farms. 
Many of these purchase cattle and hogs for fattening. Farms with 
gross sales of $25,000 are not considered large for this type of farm 
and the net income may be no larger than that received on many 
of the smaller economic classes in other types of farming. 



ECONOMIC CLASS 




Figure 



The Corn Belt is the broad area of greatest density of Class II 
farms. Many farms in this class are also found in the Northeast, 
in the Plains States, and in the Pacific Coast States. Class III 
farms are widely distributed in the North. Class IV farms are 
fairly uniformly distributed throughout the entire country, 
although a heavy concentration of them is noticeable in the 
tobacco sections of the Carolinas. Economic Classes V and VI 
are much more numerous in the South where they are likely to be 
associated primarily with the growing of cotton and tobacco. 



ECONOMIC CLASS II FARMS 




12 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



ECONOMIC CLASS III FARMS 

SALES OF 1 

NUMBER. 1954 




\-''f IDOT. 100 FARMS Ni^ '<■ 

■ 1 mxm uN " Ms *' v 







ECONOMIC 

• . -1 ; I 


CLASS 

OF $2.50 


V FARMS 

) TO $4,999] 


■•■■ #- 


UNITEO STATES 
811.969 


TOTAL 


V/~xl 


T 


*'%. ■- 


5. 



PI 




ECONOMIC CLASS V FARMS 

__ NUMBER J954 r^\ 










H 




^T^Zj 




UN.TE 


763.348 


Vy~^ p ' 


OOT-IOO FARMS V \ 






w 









ECONOMIC CLASS VI FARMS 

SALES OF $250 TO $1.199- FARM PRODUCTS MAJOR SOURCE OF INCOME*) 
NUMBER . 1954 r^\ 


1} 






["j /i^O^s-. rr^K/ 


t\A 




~-:~-L- '-. V--^''"'^ 


UNITED STATES TOTAL 








462.427 




V/~n > • - '" 1 \ 


*™£HS 


tomtsop'eSte'. ™'n*° Bv i ' Jf 1 DOT. 100 FARMS I 1 
SOURCES ^O A (COUNTY UNIT SfiSlSI \i 











Characteristics and limitations of the economic classification. — 
The economic classification is subject to certain characteristics 
which need to be considered when they are used. Probably the 
most important consideration is that classification on the basis of 
gross sales rather than net value of production fails to take account, 
of differences in purchased inputs. This needs to be considered 
when comparisons are made between different types of farms. 

In addition, the classification is based on one year's sales of 
farm products. For the purpose of providing a picture of the 
normal size of farms, this may not give an accurate picture of any 
farm that, because of chance factors, had higher or lower than 
normal yields or sales from inventories. The market output of 
an individual farm may vary considerably from year to year even 
though the farm organization remains relatively stable over a 
period of years in respect to capital, labor, and enterprises. This 
may be because of fluctuations in yield that arise through vagaries 
in weather or through higher or lower than normal sales of live- 
stock. Thus, it is possible for farms with fairly similar levels of 
production over the average of several years to fall in different 
classes when classified on the basis of sales in a given year. 

TYPES OF COMMERCIAL FARMS 

The commercial farms are divided into types on the basis of 
the proportion of gross sales accounted for by sales of various 
commodities. In general, a farm was placed in a particular com- 
modity type if gross sales of the particular commodity or group 
of commodities accounted for as much as 50 percent of the total 
gross sales from the farm. In some cases the type of farm was 
determined on the basis of the sale of an individual farm product, 
such as cotton, or on the basis of closely related products, such as 
dairy products. In other cases the type was determined on the 
basis of a broader group of products such as corn, sorghums, small 
grains, field beans, field peas, cowpeas, and soybeans. When the 
value of products from one source or group of sources did not 
represent as much as 50 percent of the total value of all farm prod- 
ucts sold, the farms were classified as general. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



13 



The information on farm sales was only for the year specified. 
Many farms get a major part of their income from sales of two or 
more of the commodities used in the criteria for determining type. 
For these farms, classification by type in the particular year may 
be influenced to some extent by chance factors, such as the price 
relationships between commodities in the particular year and 
abnormalities in crop yield or changes in livestock inventories. 

In the classification by type of farm, no recognition is given to 
products produced but not sold from the farm. 

A measure of commodity specialization. — The separation of 
commercial farms by type of farm identifies the major producers 
of commodities or commodity groups. The criteria for determin- 
ing type required that 50 percent or more of the farm income be 
derived from a particular source. Most types represent a fairly 
high degree of specialization among the producers classified. In 
consideration of problems in the production of specific commodities, 
this permits analysis of the farm organizations, efficiency and 
income of the producers involved, as well as identification of the 
areas of the country most affected. It makes possible a more 
meaningful appraisal of public policies and of the probable effects 
of alternative programs of assistance. 

The number and proportions of the commercial farms by type 
of farm are shown in the table below. 



Type of farm 


N'umbor 
of farms 


Percent 
distribu- 
tion 




537, 974 
525. 463 
367, 7:5:! 
32, 581 
82. 096 

548, 767 
154. 251 

..■i| NS.H 
347. 079 
37. 057 


16 2 




















16 5 
























3, 327, 889 


100 







Geographic Distribution of Types of Farms 

Cash-grain farms. — Out of 3.3 million commercial farms, more 
than a half-million are cash-grain farms. Cash-grain farms are 
those on which the value of farm sales from corn, sorghums, small 
grains, soybeans, cowpeas, and dry field beans and peas was equal 
to 50 percent or more of the total value of all farm products sold. 




The geographic distribution of cash-grain farms is shown on the 
map below. Concentrations of these farms are noticeable in 
arras where one or more of the cash grains are a predominate crop. 
In the IJakotas, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon, cash-grain farms 
are primarily spring wheat farms. Farther south, in Nebraska, 
Kansas, western Oklahoma, and the northern Panhandle of Texas, 
winter wheat was the grain crop that determined the type. In 
the Corn Belt States of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, cash- 
grain farms represent largely corn and soybean farms. Cash- 
grain farms in the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas, the Arkansas 
Prairies, and the Sacramento Valley of California, include many 
rice farms. In scattered localities the major source of income on 
cash-grain farms is from sorghum, dry field beans and peas, and 
small grains other than wheat and rice, but these farms are rela- 
tively unimportant numerically. 

Cotton farms. — Cotton farms are those on which 50 percent 
or more of the sales of all farm products was from sales of cotton. 
The line crop, cotton, was the major source of farm sales on slightly 
more than one-half million farms, or about 16 percent of the 
commercial farms in 1954. Cotton farms are located almost 
entirely in the South and in selected irrigated areas of Texas, New 
Mexico, Arizona, and California. (See map below.) The northern 
extent of cotton production is limited sharply by temperature and 
length of growing season. In general, rainfall is insufficient in 
the Southwest so cotton can be grown only if irrigated. 

The heaviest centers of concentration appear in the Mississippi 
and Arkansas deltas, in the Upper Piedmont and Coastal Plains 
of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and 
Mississippi, and the Black Prairie of east central Texas. Other 
concentrations are found in southwestern Oklahoma and the high 
plains and lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. 




Figure 10. 

Other field-crop farms. — Farms were classified in this category 
whenever the value of sales of a variety of major and minor crops 
accounted for 50 percent or more of the total value of all farm 
products sold. These crops include tobacco, peanuts, potatoes, 
sugar beets, sugarcane, and other specialty field crops except 
cotton. No one area has all these crops. In areas where one or 
more of them are grown, usually one tends to predominate. This 
makes it possible to identify the "other field-crop" farms in most 
areas as a more specific type, such as tobacco farms or peanut 
farms. 



4i:.".irji; r,7 



14 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Slightly more than 10 percent of the commercial farms were 
classified as other field-crop farms in 1954. These farms are 
heavily concentrated in the Appalachian and southeastern States 
(see map below). Tobacco is the most important type-deter- 
mining crop. Farms on which the sale of tobacco was the major 
source of farm sales accounted for more than two-thirds of the 
other field-crop farms in 1954. Burley and fire-cured tobacco 
farms account for most of the other field-crop farms in Kentucky, 
Tennessee, and western North Carolina. In the eastern Carolinas 
and Virginia, flue-cured tobacco predominates, although peanuts 
are grown along the coast of Virginia and North Carolina. The 
concentration of other field-crop farms in Georgia and Alabama 
represent primarily peanuts in Alabama and a mixture of peanuts 
and tobacco in Georgia. 



VV«^_ OTHER FIELD- CROP FARMS 

Hr ^~~~~TT^^. NUMBER. 1954 




— Aj4^T^fj£r 




UNITH) STATES TOTAL V/~\ ' !K^-%i>S ^1 \ 

367,771 \ ■. -S I \ 

\ f ID0T-I0O FARMS \ ] 



Figure 17. 

Concentrations of other field-crop farms include potato farms 
in Aroostook County, Maine, and sugarcane farms in Louisiana. 
In the Red River Valley area of Minnesota and North Dakota, and 
in scattered western areas, potatoes and sugar beets are grown in 
the same areas and frequently on the same farms. 

Vegetable farms. — Farms on which the value of all vegetables 
sold comprised 50 percent or more of the total farm products sold 
were classified as vegetable farms. They account for only 1 per- 
cent of the commercial farms. Many farms that grow vegetables 
for sale do not grow enough to fall in this specialized category. 

Important localized areas of vegetable farms are found in many 
States across the Continent. (See map below.) Particular areas 
of concentration are Long Island, the Florida Peninsula, the lower 
Rio Grande Valley of Texas, southwest Arizona, and the area 
adjacent to San Francisco Bay. 



^TT- 


VEGETABLE FARMS 
NUMBER. 1954 






I /pL-Ji 






W Y j~ F 

UMTED STATES TOTAL Xy~ 
32.561 




ARMS S. '] 



Fruit-and-nut farms. — Like vegetable farms, the fruit-and- 
nut farms comprise one of the less numerous types. As fruit 
production on a commercial scale is largely restricted to areas 
having favorable conditions in respect to temperature, air drainage, 
and soil moisture, fruit-and-nut farms are highly concentrated in 
a few localities. (See map below.) The most important are found 
in California, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, New York, Florida, 
and Texas. 




Dairy farms. — Dairying is one of the more important types of 
farming. More than one-half million farms, comprising nearly 17 
percent of the commercial farms, were classified as dairy farms 
in 1954. Farms were so classified if 50 percent or more of the 
total sales of farm products were milk or other dairy products; 
or, if 50 percent of the cows on hand were milk cows, sales of 
dairy products of 30 percent was sufficient, if together with sales 
of cattle and calves the two sources accounted for 50 percent of 
the total sales of farm products. 

The principal areas of concentration of dairy producers are the 
Northeast, the Lake States, and the Pacific Coast States. (See 
map below.) Smaller areas of concentration are the Central 
Basin of Tennessee, southwestern Missouri, and the Lower Snake 
River country of Idaho. Other localized concentrations are found 
around most of the larger cities everywhere and are referred to 
frequently as local milksheds. 




A GENERAL VIEW 



15 



Poultry farms. — Sales of chickens and eggs from the home flock 
is one of the most common sources of farm sales to farmers. In 
few cases, are these sales large enough to comprise the 50 percent 
of total sales of farm products needed to classify farms as poultry 
farms. Of all commercial farms, slightly less than 5 percent were 
poultry farms. 

In general, poultry producers are most numerous in the north- 
eastern quarter of the United States. (Sec map below.) In this 
broad region, particular areas of concentration are shown in the 
Delmarva Peninsula, New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania, 
and the three southern New England States. In the southeastern 
part of the United States, concentrations of poultry farms appear 
in a few widely scattered localities. Particularly noticeable are 
the places of broiler production in Georgia, North Carolina, and 
the northwestern part of Arkansas. Poultry farms are relatively 
scarce in the West except in the Pacific Coast States. 



UMTED STATES TOTAL 
154.257 


POULTRY FARMS 




Mi 








\j 


\ f IDOT.IOO FARMS 



Figure 21. 

Livestock farms other than dairy and poultry. — These farms, 
taken together, are the most numerous type in the United States. 
Over a fifth of the commercial farms (695,000) were classified as 
livestock farms in 1954. Farms were so classified if the total 
combined sales of cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, wool, mohair, goat 
milk, and products from animals slaughtered on the farm ac- 
counted for 50 percent or more of the total sales of farm products 
(provided the farm did not classify as a dairy farm). 

Livestock farms show a widespread and fairly uniform dis- 
tribution over the country (see map below). The areas of greatest 
concentration are in Iowa, northern Missouri, and western 
Illinois. Central Indiana, southwestern Ohio, and northeastern 
Nebraska show areas of almost equal concentration but of smaller 
geographic scope. These States comprise what is known as the 
Corn Belt where large quantities of feed grains are grown and the 
fattening of hogs and cattle is the dominant farm enterprise. 

Livestock farms in other parts of the country may vary from 
vast ranches in the arid West, which may require 40 or more acres 
per animal unit, to farms in some areas of the South, which 
occasionally have improved pastures that will carry an animal 
unit on 1 or 2 acres. Because of the large acreages required per 
animal unit in the Western States, livestock farms are sparsely 
distributed even though they are the most important type from 
the standpoint of numbers. Many livestock farms in the Appa- 
lachian and southeastern parts of the country are small farms of a 
subsistence type where small sales of cattle and hogs are the main 
farm sales. 




General farms. — Farms were classified as general when none 
of the specified commodities or commodity groups accounted for 
as much as 50 percent of gross farm sales. The Census of Agri- 
culture provides data for three types of general farms. These are 
(1) primarily crop, (2) primarily livestock, and (3) crop and 
livestock. 

As a group, general farms account for 10 percent of the com- 
mercial farms. Their geographic distribution is more uniform 
over the United States than any other type (see map below). 
Relatively heavy concentrations are found in areas that are transi- 
tional between the more specialized farming areas; there general 
farms are likely to be less specialized versions of the major types. 
The combination of livestock production with the growing of grains 
is the most frequent reason for farms being classified as general. 
In the Plains States, for example, wheat production is often com- 
bined with cattle raising or fattening. Farther east, hog and beef 
fattening is combined with dairying and with growing corn and 
other feed grains. Livestock is produced along with tobacco in 
the burley and fire-cured tobacco country of Kentucky and Ten- 
nessee, and with cotton throughout the Southeast. More than 
three-fourths of the general farms were classified as primarily 
livestock or crop and livestock. 




16 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Miscellaneous farms. — This category includes relatively un- 
important types as to number, such as forest-products farms, horse 
farms, nurseries, and greenhouses. Taken together, these farms 
accounted for only 1 percent of all commercial farms. The main 
purpose in classifying miscellaneous farms was to exclude them 
from the other types in order that the classification would be more 
meaningful. 

Type-of'Farming Areas 

Any attempt to outline type-of-farming areas in the United 
States must necessarily be very general. It is typical in some 
regions that a particular type of farm predominates, but other 
regions are characterized by a mixture of types, none of which 
predominate numerically. 

The accompanying map shows the type of farm that accounted 
for 50 percent or more of the commercial farms in each county 
for 1954. (See map below.) Mixed-farming counties are those in 
which no single type comprised as much as half the commercial 
farms. 

On this basis, several major type-of-farming areas stand out: 
The dairy areas of New England and the Lake States; the tobacco 
areas of North Carolina and Kentucky; the cotton area which 
covers most of the South as well as parts of Texas, New Mexico, 
Arizona, and California; the livestock areas which predominate 



in the West and extend into the Midwest; the cash-grain areas 
of the Midwest, North Dakota, Kansas, and the Northwest; and 
the fruit-and-nut areas of central California and the Florida 
peninsula. In addition to these, there are many smaller areas 
in which certain types of farms predominate. 

But the mixed areas cover a greater geographic extent than 
does any specific type. These usually border the more specialized 
areas. In some instances they are transitional areas in which two 
or more major types of farming merge. In this respect, it is 
interesting to observe the mixed nature of farming in the Mid- 
west, long known for its corn, hogs, and cattle feeding. With the 
exception of livestock areas of Iowa and Missouri and the cash- 
grain areas of Illinois and Indiana, this region appears as pre- 
dominately a mixed-farming area. Production of feed grains and 
feeding of livestock are interrelated to the extent that neither 
enterprise predominates in most of this region. 

In reviewing the type-of-farming area maps shown here, it must 
be recalled that they are based upon numbers of farms having a 
major source of income from a particular source. For this reason, 
type-of-farming areas may not represent the major source of in- 
come for the area. This would be true in cases in which relatively 
small numbers of farms with large sales volumes were of basically 
different types. In most situations a cash-grain or dairy area, 
for example, will approximate the area outlined by the major 
source of income. 



TYPE-OF-FARMING AREAS, BASED ON TYPE ACCOUNTING FOR 50 PERCENT 
OR MORE OF COMMERCIAL FARMS, 1954 




LEGEND 
TYPE-OF-FARMING AREA 
Hsl CASH-GRAIN BSSS DAIRY 

[~1 COTTON M POULTRY 

PH OTHER FIELD-CROP I^H LIVESTOCK (OTHER THAN 

L J VEGETABLE 

«_„ LZA GENERAL (NO ONE TYPE 

MS FRUIT-AND-NUT 50 p ERCENT R 



A GENERAL VIEW 



17 



TYPE OF FARM BY ECONOMIC CLASS 

Substantial differences exist between types of farms in regard to 
the proportions that fall into the various economic classes. The 
number of each type of commercial farm by economic class is 
shown in table 2. 

Table 2. — Number of Farms in Each Type of Farm by EcO' 
nomic Class, for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial 
farms 


3,327,889 
537, '.174 
525. 403 
307, 733 
32,581 

82,096 

548. 707 
154, 251 

694,888 

80,039 
113, 107 
203,843 
37, 057 


134,064 

21.995 
15.239 
5, 585 
3,751 

10, 675 
11.698 
13, 137 

39,835 

3,784 
592 

3, 202 
4,481 


448, 847 
110,597 
25, 5N5 
15, 414 

15, 330 

76.083 
28, 554 

121, 287 

9,955 
7, 156 

28. 578 
5,828 


706,852 
Im, 337 
47,013 
47,706 
5,094 

16,367 

156, 506 
28, 582 

152, 413 

14,417 
16,414 

56, 470 
5,533 


S12, 108 
129.042 
116, 163 
114,222 
6,384 

16, 876 

153.690 
27,605 

143, 072 

20, 255 

59| 015 
7,122 


763,515 

82. 789 

1S7. 228 

117. 121 

6,495 

I02! 836 
28, 923 

137, 490 

21, 054 

13.804 
41, 565 
8,357 


462. 503 






Other field-crop 


67. 685 














Livestock other than 
dairy and poultry 

General: 
Primarily crop 

Primarily livestock 
Crop ami livestock . 


100,791 

10, 574 

6. 569 
1 1, 923 







Class I farms (farms with a total value of farm products sold of 
$25,000 or more) are not numerous, nationally. They numbered 
134,064 in 1054 and comprised only 4 percent of the commercial 
farm numbers. Most of the Class I farms are found among types 
of farms that are numerically important. Livestock farms, for 
example, account for 21 percent of all commercial farms. About 
30 percent of the Class I farms are of this type. Cash-grain and 
cotton farms, also numerous nationally, accounted for 16 percent 
and 1 1 percent, respectively of the Class I farms. Of these types, 
however, Class I farms comprise a small proportion of the number 
of farms. Only 3 percent of the cotton farms, and 4 percent of the 
cash-grain farms were classified in Class I. 

In some types of farming, farms with sales of $25,000 or more 
account for a sizable proportion of the farms. These are primarily 
highly specialized types that are not numerous nationally. Fruit- 
and-nut farms accounted for less than 3 percent of the commercial 
farms, but among farms of this type 13 percent were classified as 
Class I. More than 11 percent of the vegetable farms and 8 
percent of the poultry farms had sales of $25,000 or more. 

Classes II, III, and IV are often referred to as the family-size 
farms. The value of farm products sold ranges from a lower limit 
of $2,500 on Class IV farms to an upper limit of $25,000 on Class II 
farms. About three-fifths of all commercial farms fall in these 
classes. But farms in these economic classes are much more 
typical of some types of farming than others. 

Economic Classes II, III, and IV comprised about 75 percent of 
the total number of cash-grain farms, and only slightly less of the 
dairy farms and general farms. Substantially more than half of 
the farms in each of the other types were in these economic classes 
with the exception of cotton farms, other field-crop farms, and 
vegetable farms. More than 60 percent of the cotton farms, 50 



percent of the other field-crop farms, and 40 percent of the vege- 
table farms fell in Classes V and VI (gross farm sales of less than 
$2,500). These farms are often referred to as "low-production" 
or "low-income" farms. 

Table 3. — Percent Distribution of Farms in Each Type of 
Farm by Economic Class, for the United States: 1954 



Type of farm 


Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




100.0 

100! 
100.0 
100.0 

100.0 
100 
100.0 

100.0 

100.0 
100.0 
100.0 
100.0 


4.0 
4.1 
2.9 
1.5 
11.5 

13.0 

2 1 

5.7 

4.7 
0.9 
1.6 

12 1 


13. 5 
20.6 

4^2 
13.8 

18.7 
13.9 
18.5 

17.5 

12.4 
11.3 
14.0 
15.7 


21.2 
29.8 
8.9 
13.0 
15.6 

19.9 

28.5 
18.5 

21.9 

18.0 
26.0 
27.7 
14.9 


24.4 

24.0 
22.1 
31.1 
19.6 

20.6 

17! 9 

20.6 

25.3 
29.5 
29.0 
19.2 


22.9 
15.4 

35.6 
31 s 
19.9 

19.3 
18.7 
18.8 

19.8 

26.3 
21.8 
20.4 
22.6 


13.9 
6.2 
25.5 
18.4 
19.6 

8.5 
8.7 
17.8 

14.5 
13.2 
















Livestock other than dairy and 


General: 






7.3 
15.5 







Table 4. — Percent Distribution of Farms in Each Economic 
Class, by Type of Farm, for the United States: 1954 



Type of farm 


Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




100.0 
16.2 
15.8 
11.0 
1.0 

2.5 
16.5 
4.6 

20.9 

2.4 
1.9 
6.1 
1.1 


100.0 

16.4 
11.4 
4.2 
2.8 

8.0 

8 7 
9.8 

29.7 

2.8 
0.4 
2.5 
3.3 


100.0 
24.6 
5.7 

L0 

3.4 

17.0 
6.4 

27.0 

2.2 
1.6 
6.4 
1.3 


100.0 
22.7 
6.7 
6.7 
0.7 

2.3 

22.1 
4.0 

21.6 

2.0 
2.3 
8.0 

0.8 


100.0 
15.9 
14.3 
14.1 
0.8 

2.1 

18.9 
3.4 

17.6 

2.5 
2.3 
7.3 
0.9 


100.0 
10.8 
24.5 
15.3 
0.9 

2.1 
13.5 

18.0 

2.8 
1.8 
5.4 
1.1 


100.0 
7.2 
29.0 
14.6 


Cash-Rrain_. 












10.4 
5.9 

21.8 
2.3 




Livestock other than dairy and 


General: 

Primarily crop 








1.2 





To summarize, cash-grain farms, dairy farms, livestock farms, 
and general farms are characterized by a small proportion of very 
large farms or of extremely small farms, when measured in terms 
of gross sales. Poultry farms, fruit-and-nut farms, and vegetable 
farms have a relatively high proportion of operations which grossed 
$25,000 or more in 1954 and somewhat fewer farms in the medium- 
size groups. Vegetable and poultry farms are also characterized 
by a fairly high proportion of small operations which had gross 
sales of less than $2,500. Relatively few fruit-and-nut farms 
produce at this small volume of business. 

Few of the cotton and other field-crop farms sold as much as 
$25,000 of farm products. More than half sold less than $2,500 of 
farm products. More than two-fifths of all Class V and Class VI 
farms were of these two types. 



IS 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



CHANGES IN THE STRUCTURE OF COMMERCIAL FARMING 



CHANGES AFFECT FARMERS DIFFERENTLY 

Agriculture is confronted with many problems of production 
and is undergoing basic adjustments. These problems, and the 
kinds of adjustments that may be needed, vary considerably by 
types and sizes of farms. 

Changes that have affected agriculture have had different 
impacts upon the several types and sizes of farms. This is true 
for new developments in farm-production practices, changes in 
demand, and prices of products, as well as for the more general 
changes. 

Improved techniques designed to increase yields and decrease 
labor needs in farming have varied in their adaptability to different 
crop and livestock enterprises and different sizes of farms. Differ- 
ential rates of progress have been characteristic in the invention 
of machinery to mechanize completely the production of the 
major cash crops. Notable examples are the cash grains, which 
for many years have been grown and harvested almost entirely 
with machinery; and tobacco, which still requires a great deal 
of hand labor, particularly at harvest. Mechanization has been 
more feasible for farmers on larger acreage units and for those 
with land that is fairly level and in sizable tracts. Because of 
the high capital requirements, the financial and credit positions 
of farmers have also been important factors bearing on the rate 
of mechanization. 

Farmers have not benefited equally even in the more simple 
practices of increasing yields. The results from use of com- 
mercial fertilizer, which have been so noticeable in humid eastern 
areas, have not proven as effective in areas where rainfall is more 
limited. Crop yields have been increased by using a wide variety 
of improved plants and seeds, but only a few crops have had 
such spectacular success as hybrid corn, which has affected the 
farmers in the Corn Belt, primarily. 

More general changes, that have originated in the economic 
growth of the Nation, have also had different impact upon the 
various sectors of agriculture. With increasing concentration 
of population in cities, farmers have needed to produce the 
products demanded by urban tastes and customs. Substitutions 
of commodities have taken place. Consumers are buying less 
of the starchy foods in the form of bread, flour, potatoes, and 
rice, and are buying more meats, milk, eggs, and fresh vegetables. 
Vegetable oils have increased in demand for both household and 
industrial uses. 

Rapid transportation and new processes for freezing foods have 
changed the locational advantages of farmers. These develop- 
ments have enabled some farmers who are far from population 
centers to compete for what were formerly local markets. The 
development and production of synthetic fibers, the decline in 
foreign markets, and the competition of foreign agricultural 
producers, each has a distinct impact upon the structure of 
American agriculture. 

Commercial farms have become fewer but they are much larger 
when measured by either the volume of farm sales or the acres 
of land in farms. The larger farms have become more numerous 
and there are fewer small farms. At the same time, there have 
been shifts in farming from one type to another. Along with 
the reduction in the number of commercial farms, most types of 
farms have decreased in actual number, but at different rates. 
Some types have increased as a proportion of the commercial 
farms. The changing structure is also reflected in adjustments 
made in the composition and use of farm resources. 



Changes in agriculture are gradual. Most of the comparisons 
of changes, which follow, are based upon the Censuses of 1950 
and 1954. The time period is too short to permit isolation 
of long-run trends or to warrant conclusions regarding the implica- 
tions of these changes. Some of the changes that have occurred 
between 1950 and 1954 are thought to be illustrative of basic 
and long-run adjustments that are being made. Others may 
reflect only short-run variations that resulted from conditions 
peculiar to one or the other years under consideration. 

The Censuses of 1950 and 1954 are selected as the basis of these 
comparisons because of the comparability of classifications used. 
Both Censuses provide data on the characteristics of farms grouped 
by economic class and by type of farm. The criteria used by 
the two Censuses for determining economic class and type of 
farm were identical. These classifications permit a more detailed 
examination of changes in commercial agriculture than has been 
possible previously. 

CHANGES BY ECONOMIC CLASSES 

Between 1950 and 1954 the number of commercial farms 
decreased by 378,523, a decrease of approximately 10 percent. 
The number of Class I farms increased by 30,833. This represents 
an increase of more than a fourth in the number of these large 
operations. As a proportion of the total commercial farms, 
however, Class I farms comprised less than 3 percent in 1950 and 
only 4 percent in 1954. (See table 5.) 



Table 5. — Changes in Number and Percent Distribution of 
Commercial Farms, by Economic Class, for the United 
States: 1950 to 1954 



Economic class of farm 


Number 


Increase or de- 
crease (-) from 
1950 to 1954 


Percent of 
farms 




1950 


1954 


Number 


Percent 


1949 


1954 


Commercial farms 


3, 706, 412 
103, 231 
381, 151 
721, 211 
SN2.3II2 
901,316 
717,201 


'). 1127, 8.S9 

134,064 

448,847 

Sli 1IW 
703.515 
462, 503 


-378, 523 

30, 833 

-U.M) 
-70, 194 
-137,801 
-254,698 


-10.2 
29.9 
17.8 
-2.0 
-8.0 
-16.3 
-34.1 


100.0 
2.8 
10.4 
19.6 
23.8 
24.2 
19.1 


100.0 
4.0 








21.2 




24.4 




22.9 











The number of farms in Class II increased by 63,000 — an 
increase of 16 percent. Farms in this class comprised about 
13 percent of the commercial farms in 1954, compared with 10 
percent in 1950. 

Farms in the smaller economic classes decreased in number. 
This decrease was relatively small for Economic Classes III and 
IV. While decreasing in actual number, farms in these classes 
comprised a slightly larger proportion of the commercial farms 
in 1954 than in 1950. Most of the reduction in the number of 
commercial farms was among the small farms producing less than 
$2,500 of farm products for sale. Class V farms decreased by 
132,156, a decrease of 15 percent, and Class VI farms decreased 
in number by 245,561, a decrease of 35 percent. These classes, 
taken together, accounted for 36 percent of the commercial 
farms in 1954 compared with 43 percent 5 years earlier. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



19 



The average prices received by farmers for all farm products 
sold were at approximately the same level in both 1949 and 1954. 
The economic classifications based on farm sales in each of these 
years are comparable in terms of the physical volume of farm 
production represented. Changes in the number of farms by 
economic class between 1950 and 1954 indicate the substantial 
increase in farm production that took place. This alone would 
have been sufficient to cause many farms to fall in larger economic 
classes. But in addition, there was a reduction in the number 
of farms and this land was incorporated in the remaining farms 
giving them a larger acreage base. The shift to larger economic 
classes was a combination of the increase in production per acre 
and per animal unit and the larger acreage base per farm. 

The increase in size of farm is a part of technological progress 
in agriculture. The greater use of farm machinery enables a 
smaller work force to tend more acres and more animal units and 
to harvest a larger production. The increase in farm size does 
not necessarily indicate a shift toward large-scale farms employing 
large numbers of hired workers. In fact all indications are that 
substantial growth took place on farms operated primarily with 
family labor. Many of these farms acquired additional land in 
order to utilize their machinery more efficiently. 



SPECIALIZATION IN FARMING 

Changing conditions have also had their impact upon the types 
of farming — the commodities produced, the number of producers, 
and the combination of farm enterprises. A question of current 
interest relates to specialization in agriculture; more specifically, 
whether or not recent developments have encouraged farmers to 
specialize in one or more enterprises rather than produce several 
different commodities in more diversified types of farming. 

A conclusive answer to this question would require a more 
detailed analysis than is given in this report. However, some 
indication of probable trends may be drawn from changes in the 
number and proportion of farms that produced one or more of 
several major commodities during the 25-year period ending in 
1954. These changes are shown in table 6. 

The trend of the last 25 years indicates that most major com- 
modities are now produced by fewer farms and by a smaller propor- 
tion of the farms. This trend is much more pronounced in the 



production of some commodities than others. In the case of 
tobacco the trend is in the opposite direction. 

In interpretation of these trends one must consider recent 
developments in methods of production, marketing and processing, 
changes in consumer demand, the time period under consideration, 
and the types of Government programs in effect. 

One of the major pressures for greater specialization in agricul- 
ture has been the need for efficient utilization of machinery and 
other capital equipment. Investments in farm machinery and in 
improved housing and facilities for livestock and poultry have not 
been profitable unless the enterprise was carried on in sufficient 
volume. In order to gain the advantages from use of new tech- 
nology, many farmers have found it necessary to concentrate on 
one or a few enterprises rather than several. 

The small change in the proportion of farms producing wheat 
is owing largely to the time period. Mechanization in the produc- 
tion of small grains was well underway prior to 1929. The changes 
in production techniques of the last 25 years have not been so 
important as those that occurred during the preceding two 
decades. In contrast, mechanization of cotton production has 
been a more recent occurrence. Its impact on the number and 
proportion of farms producing cotton is apparent. 

The increasing number and proportion of farms producing 
tobacco are attributable to the lack of progress in developing 
labor-saving equipment to perform certain crucial operations, 
and the lack of more profitable alternatives to tobacco for many 
farmers in the producing areas. Government programs — acreage 
allotments and price supports — may have also contributed to 
the trend. 

The increase in the proportion of farms selling milk is in accord 
with the greater consumption of fluid milk by a growing 
population. 

Production of broilers and eggs and of vegetables for sale show 
noticeable trends toward greater specialization. The sale of eggs 
and chickens from home flocks has been supplanted by modern 
efficient highly specialized operations. This change reflects im- 
provements in disease control, feeding and housing, and other 
developments that enable fewer workers to care for a larger number 
of birds. Along with developments in transportation and process- 
ing, vegetable production, which used to be centered in environs 
of most of the larger cities, has shifted to areas having other natural 
advantages. 



-Number and Proportion of Farms Having Production or Sales of Specified Commodities, for the United States by 
Specified Years: 1929 to 1954 





1929 


1939 


1949 


1954 


Item 


Number of 


Percent of 
all farms 


Number of 
farms 


Percent of 
all farms 


Number of 
farms 


Percent of 
all farms 


Number of 


Percent of 
all farms 




4, 597, 949 

1, 208, 368 

1, 986, 726 

432, 975 

627, 452 

893, 431 

(NA) 

3, 129, 715 

3, 872, 482 
(NA) 
(NA) 


73.1 
19.2 
31.6 
6.9 

10.0 
14.2 

(NA) 
49.8 

61.6 
(NA) 
(NA) 


4, 456, 259 

1, 385, 774 

1,589,723 

498, 348 

462,552 
953, 898 

1, 460, 383 
2,519,076 

(NA) 

2, 625, 783 
1,842,704 


73.1 
22.7 
26.1 
8.2 

7.6 
15.6 
24.0 
41.3 

(NA) 
43.1 
30.2 


3, 403, 965 

l 1, 147, 710 

1,110,876 

"531,922 

346,528 

1, 096, 650 

862,128 

1, 713, 435 

2, 420, 718 
2,982,616 
2, 097, 807 


63.2 
' 21.3 
20.6 

6.4 
20.4 
16.0 
31.8 

45.0 
55.4 
39.0 


2, 844, 369 

>J1,004,607 

864, 138 

! 513, 346 

279,606 

934, 143 

540, 556 

1,030,287 

1, 684, 531 
2,611,031 
1,423,943 
















Vegetables harvested for sale other than Irish potatoes and 








Gieam sold 


11.3 



















N'A Not available. 

1 Totals for States fur which data are available. 

'■ Inr-lu'les sijmm- <lui'lw:ituin of farina ivj.mim- <liiTcrent, typos of wheat. 
• InrluMi'S -.nil if -in plication of farms rvpoj Mh-j. .iitlVivnt. types of tobacco . 



20 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



CHANGES IN TYPE OF FARM 

Between 1950 and 1954 there was a decrease in number of each 
type of farm except cash-grain farms. (See table 7.) Cash-grain 
farms increased by more than 100,000, or about a fourth. The 
greatest reduction in absolute number occurred among dairy 
farms and general farms, which decreased by about 150,000 each. 
Among general farms, those classified as primarily livestock, 
decreased by nearly half. Other livestock farms and cotton 
farms, among the most numerous types nationally, decreased 
by 111,000 and 84,000, respectively. Fruit-and-nut farms and 
vegetable farms are specialized types that are not numerous 
nationally. Fruit-and-nut farms remained about the same in 
number while vegetable farms decreased by nearly a third. 



Table 7- — Changes in Number and Percent Distribution 
of Commercial Farms, by Type of Farm, for the United 
States: 1950 to 1954 



Type of farm 


Number 


Increase or de- 
crease (— ) from 
1950 to 1954 


Percent of 




1950 


1954 


Number 


Percent 


1950 


1954 


Commercial farms 

Cash -'.Main 


3, 706, 412 
130,389 
609,307 
409, 421 
46,415 

82, 178 

602.093 
175, 876 

806,080 

494, 285 
84, 569 
134, 66(1 
275, 050 

50,368 


3, 327, 889 

r.:(7. 974 

307 ! 733 
32, 581 

82, 096 

548, 767 
154, 251 

694,888 

347, 079 

63! 197 
203 843 

37, 057 


-378, 523 

107,585 
-83,811 
-41.688 

-13,834 

-82 
-153.326 
-21,625 

-111,192 

-147,206 
-4, 530 
-71,469 
-71,207 

-13,311 


-10.2 
.24.8 
-13.8 
-10.2 
-29. 8 

-0.1 
-25.5 
-12.3 

-13.8 

-29.8 
-5.4 
-53.1 
-25.9 

-26.4 


100. 
11.6 
16.4 
11.0 
1.3 

2.2 
16.2 
4.7 

21.7 

13.3 
2.3 
3.6 

7.4 

1.4 


100. 
16.2 


* Ulii'! lielil-crop 


11. I 














Livestock other than dairy 












Primarily livestock 

Crop and livestock 


1.9 

6.1 







Changes in types of farms by economic class. — Cash-grain 
farms were the only type that increased numerically between 
1950 and 1954. Fruit-and-nut farms remained about the same. 
There were decreases in the number of all other types. Decreases 
also occurred among farms in each of the smaller economic 
classes — -Classes III through VI. The larger farms, Classes I 
and II, increased substantially. 

These changes in number have brought about noticeable 
differences in the size structure of the individual type of farm 
(see table. 8). There was an increase in the number of Class I 
farms for each type. Numerically, this increase was greatest on 
cash-grain farms, an increase of 8,000 Class I farms. This type 
accounted for more than a fourth of the total increase in Class I 
farms. 

The next largest increase in Class I farms occurred among 
fruit-and-nut farms. The increase of 5,000 Class I farms repre- 
sented an increase to twice the number of these farms in 1950. 
Sizable increases in the number of Class I farms also occurred for 
cotton, poultry, and other livestock farms. 

The number of Class II farms increased for most types. Over 
half of the increase was for cash-grain farms and a fourth of the 
increase was for dairy farms. The decreases in Class II farms 
were of relatively minor proportions where they occurred. 

The changes in the number of Class III farms occurred only 
for a few types. The decreases were virtually all for other live- 
stock, general livestock, and general crop and livestock farms; a 
total decrease of 60,000 farms. This was partially offset by sub- 
stantial increases for cash-grain and other field-crop farms. 
Changes in the number of Class III farms were slight for the 
remaining types. 



Table 8. — Changes in Number of Farms, for Each Type of 
Commercial Farm, by Economic Class, for the United 
States: 1950 to 1954 

[A minus sign (-) indicates a decrease] 



Type of farm 



Increase or decrease, 
1950 to 1954: 

Commercial farms 

Cash-grain 

Cotton 

Other field-crop 

Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy,. 

Poultry 

livestock other than 
dairy and poultry 

General: 
Primarily crop. . 
Primarily live- 
Crop and live- 
Miscellaneous 

1954 as percent of 1950: 

Commercial farms 

Cash-grain 

Cotton 

Other field-crop 

Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy 

Poultry 

Livestock other than 
dairy ami poultry 

General: 
Primarily crop .. 
Primarily live- 
stock 

Crop and live- 
stock 

Miscellaneous 



-13,831 
- :,3,320 

111,192 

-4, 530 
-71,469 
-71, 207 



Economic class of farm 



11, 359 
32. 593 
2,041 
KI.H'.lll 
-1,649 



-2.(153 
-20,215 
-6,425 

-33, 508 



1,184 
-23,244 

- 18, 948 



- 1.071 
-30.581 
-14,110 



-18.932 
-23,462 



-25 1.098 
-3, 710 
-104,314 

-28,932 

-5,291 
-4,568 

-15,593 
-11.757 



Decreases in the number of Class IV farms took place for all 
types except cash-grain and cotton farms. The bulk of the de- 
crease was for dairy farms and the livestock types listed in the 
preceding paragraph. Class IV cash-grain and cotton farms in- 
creased by a fifth and a fourth, respectively. 

With the exception of cash-grain farms, the number of Class V 
farms decreased substantially for each type. The net decrease of 
132,000 was a decrease of 15 percent from the number in 1950. 
The greatest proportionate decrease was for general livestock 
farms, a decrease of 60 percent. 

There was a decrease of 246,000 in Class VI farms. The number 
of these small farms declined for each type of farm. The greatest 
numerical decrease was for cotton farms, a decrease of 104,000. 
The greatest proportionate decrease was for general livestock ar.d 
general crop and livestock farms. On these types the number of 
Class VI farms declined to only a third their number in 1950. 

Increases and decreases in some types of farms are closely 
related to changes in relative prices received by farmers for 
different commodities, and changes in cost-price relationships 
that affect alternative enterprises on the farm. Type of farm 
was based upon sales of farm products in the particular year. 
Farms having substantial sales from two or more commodities 
(or commodity groups) may have been classified in some cases 
as one type in 1950 and another type in 1954. This shifting 
between types probably accounts for a considerable part of the 
increase in cash-grain farms and the decrease in livestock farms 
and general farms between 1950 and 1954. 

Along with the decrease in total commercial farm numbers, 
farms of most types have declined in number. But within the 
overall decrease there have been differences in the changes geo- 
graphically. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



21 



Geographic changes in type and economic class. — The decline 
in the number of the smaller economic classes of farms, the in- 
crease in the larger classes, and the overall reduction in the total 
number of commercial farms between 1950 and 1954, is but a 
continuation of the trend in recent decades. The changes in the 
number of farms by type and their size distribution, however, is 
primarily useful in a description of the current 5-year period 
rather than for use in plotting long-run trends or making future 
projections. Changes in the number of farms by type as well 
as by economic class include shifts from one type or class into 
another. 

The maps on the following pages show the geographic location 
of the changes in economic classes and types of farms. These 
maps show a fairly high degree of correlation in some areas 
between decreases in some types and classes of farms and as- 
sociated increases in other types and classes. Because of the 
overall decline in the number of commercial farms, however, it 
is not always possible to distinguish between the shifts between 
classes and types and the complete disappearance of farms of 
any given type and class. 

The increase in cash-grain farms between 1950 and 1954 was 
highly concentrated in the feed-grain sections of Indiana and 
Ohio, southeastern Illinois, north-central Iowa, and south-central 
Minnesota. In the wheat-producing areas further west, increases 
in cash-grain farms occurred in central Kansas and other scattered 
areas. 

Increases also took place on the Delmarva Peninsula largely 
because of an increased production of soybeans. For the most 
part, increases in cash-grain farms in the wheat areas were com- 
pensated by decreases in adjoining areas. The acreage in wheat 
declined throughout the Plains. Even in Kansas, where increases 
in cash-grain farms occurred, the acreage of wheat declined while 
that of grain sorghums increased. 

Increases in cash-grain farms are closely associated with de- 
creases that occurred in general farms (primarily livestock and 
primarily crop and livestock) and other livestock farms. The 
increase in cash-grain farms in each of the midwestern and Plains 
areas coincided with decreases in the number of livestock and 
general farms. Furthermore, the increases in the former and 
decreases in the latter types are of approximately the same magni- 
tude. 

The shift from livestock and general to cash-grain farms be- 
tween 1950 and 1954 is due largely to changes in the relative prices 
of grains and livestock. The prices farmers received for feed 
grains were higher relative to livestock prices in 1949 than in 1954. 
The table below shows the index of prices received by farmers for 
feed grains and livestock for the years 1949 to 1954. In order to 
show the relative change between 1949 and 1954, the index has 
been computed with 1949 equal to 100. 





Year 


Index of prices received by 
farmers (1949=100) 




Feed grains 
and hay 


animals 




100 
109 
128 

US 
116 


100 



























In areas affected by the shift from general and livestock to 
cash-grain farms, feed grains and livestock are usually grown on 
the same farms, and income is derived from sales of both products. 
A change in price of one relative to the other may change the 
Census classification of these farms even though the farm organi- 
zation remains the same. Also, during a period in which prices 
for feed grains are high relative to prices for livestock, more of 
the grain is sold, resulting first in animals being marketed at 
lighter weights, followed by curtailment of the production of 
meat animals by reduction in breeding stock. During this period 
sales of corn and soybeans increased substantially. 

Decreases in livestock and general farms in Kentucky and 
Tennessee are related to increases in other field-crop farms and, 
in western Kentucky, to a slight increase in cash-grain farms. 
While the number of farms reporting sales of tobacco decreased 
slightly between 1949 and 1954, yields were higher in the latter 
year and also the value of tobacco sold. This, along with lower 
prices for livestock, meant that many of the farms that were 
classified as livestock and general in 1950, were classified in the 
other field-crop category in 1954. 

Decreases in livestock and general farms in these States are also 
related to the reduction in the number of commercial farms. A 
high proportion of the livestock and general farms were in the 
smaller economic classes of farms that have been disappearing 
rapidly in recent decades. 

The other field-crop farms (primarily tobacco and peanut farms) 
decreased in all areas, except for the increases in Kentucky and 
Tennessee. These decreases are closely related to the large 
reduction in Class V and VI farms in the flue-cured tobacco and 
peanut areas of Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Alabama. 
In the Georgia- Alabama area part of the decreases represent shifts 
from tobacco and peanuts to cotton, livestock, and general types 
of farming. 

In central Louisiana the decrease in other field-crop farms 
represents a decline in sugarcane farms. There was a sharp 
decrease in the acreage and yield as well as the number of farmers 
growing sugarcane. These decreases were compensated by an 
almost identical increase in cotton farms. 

The number of cotton farms decreased throughout most of the 
old Cotton Belt, extending from the Carolinas westward to east 
Texas. These decreases are closely related to decreases in Class VI 
farms. The number of these small cotton farms decreased by- 
more than 100,000. In the old Cotton Belt, however, increases 
in cotton farms occurred in the Coastal Plains of the Carolinas, 
the southern Georgia-Alabama and the central Louisiana areas 
discussed previously, and throughout central and southern 
Mississippi. In Mississippi, the increase in cotton farms was 
compensated by decreases in livestock and general farms, this 
shift being due primarily to differences in yields and prices in 
respect to cotton and livestock, between 1949 and 1954. 

Cotton farms increased in number in the western areas, par- 
ticularly in the High Plains area of northwest Texas. There the 
increased numbers of cotton farms are associated with an increase 
in irrigation. 

The number of dairy farms decreased throughout the North- 
east and Lake Dairy areas. There was some shifting of type 
from dairy to cash-grain farms in the cash-grain dairy transition 
areas. For the most part, however, the decrease in dairy farms 
is related to fewer farms, particularly in Economic Classes IV 
and V and the combination of farms into larger units. 



22 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Dairy farms have a widespread distribution over the country. 
In addition to the major dairy regions mentioned, there are 
numerous smaller areas of concentration around many of the 
larger population centers. Many of these so-called milksheds 
show increases in the number of dairy farms whereas outside of 
these special areas, the number has declined. 




<kii-_ COTTON FARMS-INCREASE AND DECREASE 

K# Tr-—^. 1N NUM BER. 1950-1954 










\ 




U'JiTED STATES NET DECREA l V /~-, 




The 5-year period ending in 1954 saw poultry farming becom- 
ing increasingly specialized and highly concentrated in specific 
localities. The greatest increases occurred in the Piedmont of 
North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, in central Arkansas, 
and east Texas. Sizable decreases in poultry farms took place 
in both the Pacific Coast and Middle Atlantic areas. 



VEGETABLE FARMS - INCREASE AND DECREASE 




Kte--^ FRU1T-AND 

UNITED STATES NET DECREASE V 
OR LESS THAN 005 PERCENT . 


-NUT FARMS 


- INCREASE AND DECREASE 

ER. 1950-1954 










t. 









VVW- - DAIRY FARMS- INCREASE AND DECREASE 

YV ^ IN NUMBER - 195 ° " l954 


r\ 


/~""~>~-/Lv '7 i['-'' ■' 


. ^YJtk*^ 




\* \ ■ IhrI ••' : 




m 


Vi \ /.- , ■ •.-.;,• 






— P- ^-tP^/ 7 " 


v^ir 


UM1TED STATES NET DECREASE V / — , 






53.330 OR 83 PERCENT \ 


''!%!££££ 




„,,-,».,,,, C~^T 


UPHooXTa 


•■■■«•■«■" 



A GENERAL VIEW 



23 



iJtaS-^ POULTRY FARMS - INCREASE AND DECREASE 

PJ — 7T— -— IN WJMBQ '- ra5 ° ' l954 /*~\ 






V/MV 


^"^^^P^v 


\ JT | DOT- 25 INCREASE \ \ 




FigureI32. 



Most of the fruit-and-nut farms are located on the Pacific 
Coast and the Florida peninsula. The significant change in the 
number of these farms was the decrease in the Los Angeles area 
of Southern California and the increase in central Florida. The 
decrease in the number of fruit-and-nut farms in Southern Cali- 
fornia was probably due to the combining of farms into larger 
production units. The acreage in fruit and nut trees, as well as 
the production, remained about the same, but was distributed 
among fewer farmers. In central Florida the land in fruit or- 
chards, groves, vineyards, and planted nut trees, increased by 
more than a third. This is one of the few areas in which the 
total number of farms increased between 1950 and 1954. 

The number of vegetable farms decreased by nearly a third 
between 1950 and 1954. This decrease was fairly general in most 
areas. Because of the small number of vegetable farms and 
their geographic dispersion, no attempt is made here to indicate 
the relation of these decreases to changes in other types of farms. 
The number of vegetable farms decreased in each economic class 
except Class I. 

Along with changes in types of farms there were notable changes 
in the geographic distribution of the economic classes of farms. 
As mentioned, there was an increase in the number of Class I 
farms for each type of farm. These increases in Class I farms 



•GENERAL FARMS- INCREASE AND DECREASE 




were mostly confined to specific areas. The area of greatest in- 
crease was in northern Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Here they 
are associated closely with the increase in cash-grain farms. 
From the areas shown on the map it is apparent that most of the 
increases in Class I cash-grain farms were among those with a 
major source of income from sales of corn and soybeans rather 
than of wheat. In the wheat areas, increases in Class I farms 
were confined mainly to the spring-wheat area of Montana and 
the white-wheat area of Washington. 

There was an increase in Class I cotton farms in the Missis- 
sippi Delta and the High Plains of Texas. In the Mississippi 
Delta the increase was due largely to a reduction in the number 
of cropper farms. Part of the increase represents cotton farms, 
formerly operated as multiple units, which decreased the number 
of croppers and reorganized production to use hired labor in 
mechanized operations. 

Increases in the High Plains of Texas resulted from increased 
production from irrigated acreages. The irrigated land in cotton 
farms nearly doubled between 1950 and 1954. Despite a sharp 
decrease in the acreage, the production increased by nearly a 
third. The number of cotton farms did not change appreciably 
but more of them were classified in the larger economic classes. 

Increases in Class I farms in other areas are associated with 
poultry farms, fruit-and-nut farms, and a mixture of types in the 
Pacific Coast States; fruit-and-nut farms in central Florida; and 
cash-grain (rice) farms in southern Louisiana. 

Decreases in the number of Class I farms were distributed 
fairly generally over the United States. These were more 
noticeable, however, among cash-grain and general farms in the 
Plains area extending from Texas to Nebraska. 

Changes in the geographic distribution of farms in Economic 
Classes II through VI are not discussed separately except as 
mentioned previously in relation to changes in types of farms. 
In general, most areas that show an increase in the larger economic 
classes show a corresponding decrease in the smaller economic 
classes. These changes are related to the combinations of small 
farms into larger units and to continued increases in production 
that have resulted from application of better farming practices. 
Increases in the number of farms in the smaller economic classes 
in specific localities are probably due largely to abnormalities in 
production in 1954. Sales may have been below normal because 
of poor yields in that particular year. 



24 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



!U^_ ECONOMIC CLASS I FARMS* -INCREASE AND DECREASE 

|^» i/^^T-p— -___ IN NUMBER. 19501954 




\?Vh— i~ii 


I0OT-SB INCREASE \' \ 


UNITED STATES NET INCREASE V ,—y 'i 




ECONOMIC CLASS III FARMS '-INCREASE AND DECREASE 
H954 




CHANGES IN SIZE OF ACREAGE 

In terms of acreage, commercial farms are becoming both larger 
and smaller. Farms under 10 acres and farms with more than 200 
acres have increased in number. (See table 9.) Those in the 
size groups between 10 acres and 200 acres have decreased. 
Farms in these size groups, however, comprise more than 85 
percent of the commercial farms. 



N£ 


ECONOMIC CLASS IV FARMS'-INCREASE AND DECREASE 

^~~f7— — __^ IN NUMBER, 1950-1954 

1 ^WS^^ ; ^i 


(% 




~^4~£l ' 


. ,," ; r-- \:ila z -& 




"*: \ 








■ H 


V* / "' 


4-A -mM 




UNITED STATES NET DECREASE 
70.35T0R 6.0 PERCENT 







sJ.W^ ECONOMIC CLASS V FARMS'-INCREASE AND DECREASE 





The greatest rate of decrease among commercial farms came in 
the acreage-size group between 10 and 100 acres. Farms of this 
size which account for nearly two-fifths of all commercial farms, 
decreased in number by nearly a fifth between 1950 and 1954. 
Farms between 100 and 220 acres comprise nearly a third of the 
commercial farms. These decreased in number by about 10 
percent, or about the same rate as the overall decrease in com- 
mercial farms. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



25 



Table 9. — Changes in Number of Farms by Size and 
Percent Distribution of Commercial Farms by Size, for 
the United States: 1950 to 1954 



Acreage size 


Number 


Increase or de- 
crease (-) from 
1950 to 1954 


Percent of 




I960 


1954 


Number 


Percent 


1950 


1954 


Commercial farms 


3,706.412 
136. 835 
7112, 320 
710, 876 

1,162.419 

042, 01S 
174, 380 
117,568 


3, 327. 889 
145, 4(K) 
022, 921 
580,660 

1,026,664 
042. 333 
182, 5a 1 
127, 361 


-378, 523 
8.565 

-139.405 
-130,216 

-135,755 

315 

8,170 

9,803 


-10.2 

6.3 
-18.3 
-18.3 

-11.7 
0.5 
4.7 
8.3 


100.0 
3.7 
20 .6 
19.2 

31.3 
17.3 

3^2 


100.0 










100 In 219 acres 


30.9 















Farms of less than 10 acres are not numerous in commercial 
agriculture. They are much more common in the noncommercial 
farming sector where many part-time and residential farmers have 
small acreages. Of the 484,000 farms that are under 10 acres, 70 
percent (339,000) were classified as part-time or residential farms. 
Among commercial farmers, less than 5 percent (145,000) had 
farms of less than 10 acres. These farms increased in number by 6 
percent during a period in which commercial farms as a group 
declined by 10 percent. 

The increase in the number of farms in the larger acreage size 
groups between 1950 and 1954 is but a continuation of a trend 
toward larger acreage units. Farms between 220 and 500 acres 
remained about the same numerically, but increased as a propor- 
tion of the commercial farms. These farms comprised a fifth of 
all commercial farms in 1954. Farms with more than 500 acres 
account for less than 10 percent of all farms. These farms in- 
creased numerically by 18,000. The greatest increase came 
among farms of 1,000 acres and more — an increase of 8 percent. 

Change in acreage by economic class. — There was a substantial 
increase in the number of larger farms between 1949 and 1954 as 
measured by gross sales of farm products. Also, the larger 
acreage units increased in number. These parallel increases in 
size, measured by both volume of market sales and acreage, 
portray a much closer relationship between the two measures of 
size than actually exists. 

The increase in the number of Class I farms between 1949 and 
1954 was accompanied by increases in each of the acreage size 
groups (see table 10). There was an increase of nearly a fifth 
even in the few small units of less than 10 acres that sold farm 
products valued at $25,000 or more. The bulk of the increase in 
the number of Class I farms was among farms of less than 500 
acres. The greatest proportionate increase was among farms of 
100 to 219 acres. There was an increase of 60 percent in the 
number of farms in this acreage-size group that grossed $25,000 or 
more from sales of farm products. Numerically, the greatest 
increase was among farms between 220 and 500 acres. These 
accounted for half of the increase in Class I farms. 

The number of farms in Economic Class II also increased be- 
tween 1950 and 1954, an increase of 67,696. This increase took 
place among all acreage-size groups of farms. Most of the in- 
crease in Class II farms (over three-fourths) came among farms 
of 100 to 500 acres. Less than 5 percent of the increase was among 
farms of 500 or more acres. 

Farms in each economic class below Class II (sales of less than 
$10,000) decreased in number. These decreases were mostly 
among the intermediate acreage groups. Among these classes, 



farms below 10 acres and those above 500 acres increased in 
number. 

The decrease of nearly 400,000 farms in Economic Classes V 
and VI (sales of less than $2,500) was almost entirely among farms 
between 10 and 220 acres. For these classes taken together, farms 
of less than 10 acres and farms larger than 500 acres increased in 
number. 



Table 10. — Number and Percent Distribution of Farms, 
1954, and Change in Number of Farms, 1950 to 1954; 
by Size and Economic Class, for the United States 



Number of farms, 1954: 
Commercial fauns 

Class I 

Class II 

Class III.... 

Class V. '.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'. 
Class VI 

Percent distribution 
1954: 
Commercial farms 

ClassI 

Class II.. 

Class III 

Class IV 

Class V 

Class VI... 

Increase or decrease, 
1950 to 1954: 
Commercial farms.... 

Class li'.""'"."" 

Class III 

Class IV 

ClassV 

Class VI 

1954 as percent of 1950: 
Commercial farms 

ClassI 

Class II 

Class III 

Class IV 

ClassV 

Class VI 



3. 327, 889 
131.004 
448.847 
700, S52 
SI 2. 108 
763,515 
402, a 13 



378.523 
30, 833 
07, 000 
- 14,369 
-70,194 
137. Mil 



-254, 



52.451 
10. 327 
47, 352 



13. 119 

25, 399 
-0, S30 



182.5.50 
24,807 
IS, S75 
19.087 



127,30 1 
30,774 
38,816 
30. 138 



2, 7 19 
2,840 
2,201 



102 3 
110.0 
120 2 
135.7 
112.0 



The changes in acreage as related to economic class show that 
among Class I farms there has been an increase in the proportion 
of smaller acreage units and a decrease in the larger acreage units. 
On the farms with less than $25,000 of farm products sold, the 
trend has been toward fewer medium-size acreage units and an 
increasing proportion of farms below 10 acres and above 220 acres. 

Changes in the number of farms include substantial shifting of 
farms between economic classes and acreage-size groups. The 
total number of commercial farms decreased by 376,000. Most 
land in those farms was consolidated with other farms. The in- 
crease in production from the larger farmed acreage resulted in 
many farms being classified in groups of higher value of sales. 
At the same time, increased yields per acre and per animal unit 
served to increase market sales per farm. This also caused farms 
to shift into groups of higher value of sales. Shifts between 
economic classes also resulted from reorganizations of farming 
systems toward enterprises that were yielding a greater return 
per acre of land. 

The increase in the number of units of smaller acreage with 
sales of $25,000 or more is indication of the greater possibilities 
for developing fairly sizable' business operations on modest acreages. 



26 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Change in acreage by type of farm. — Among most types of 
farms there were fewer small farms (measured in acres) and more 
of the larger ones. The exception was found among cash-grain 
farms which was the only type to grow in number during the period 
1950 to 1954. While the number of farms increased in each acre- 
age-size group for cash-grain farms, there was a greater propor- 
tionate increase in the smaller farms. This came from the shifts 
to cash-grain of many midwesteru livestock and general farms, 

Table 11. — Number and Percent Distribution, 1954, and 
Change in Number of Farms, 1950 to 1954; by Size and 
Type of Farm, for the United States 



Item and type of farm 



Number of farms: 
Commercial farms ... 

Cash-grain 

Cotton- 

Other field-crop 

Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy 

Poultry 

Livestock other than 
dairy and poultry.. 

General 

Primarily crop 

Primarily live- 
stock 

Cropand livestock 
Miscellaneous 

Percent distribution, 
1954: 

Commercial farms 

Cash-grain 

Cotton 

Other field-crop 

Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy 

Poultry 

Livestock other than 
dairy and poultry 

General 

Primarily crop 

Primarily live- 
Crop and iivestock 
Miscellaneous 

Increase or decrease, 
1950 to 1954: 

Commercial farms 

Cash-grain. 

Cotton 

Other field -crop 

Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy 

Poultry 

Livestock other than 
dairy ami poultry . 

General 

Primarily crop .. . 
Primarily live- 
stock 

Cropandlivestuck 
M iscellaneous 

1954 as percent of 1950: 

Commercial farms 

Cash-grain 

Cotton _ 

Other field-crop 

Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy 

Poultry 

Livestock other than 

dairy and poultry- 
General 

Primarily crop... 

Primarily live- 
stock 

Cropand livestock 
Miscellaneous 



...17. '.'7 1 
727. lli.'i 

3C7, 733 
32, 581 

82, 096 

.MS. 707 
17,4. 27,1 



i,3. I'.ir 
71,3. s 13 

717, (17,7 



37s. 77:: 

1117, 7S7, 

- M.N It 

11. CSS 

13.S34 



337. sin 

233. S'Jil 
2(1. 1417. 

53, 804 

17,(1.317, 
70, 2(111 



311, MOT 
7I.S3S 
37, (IS3 
II!, 427, 



170, sin 
97, :1m 
74, 77,3 
5,752 



137.77,7 

34, 2711 

- 17, Ills 

-2, 105 

-582 

-20,232 
-3,851 

-52, 192 

-58, 341 



II. I 14 
22.1110 
2,412 



1S7, 7 

,,3,1,33 
13. 120 



types that are typically smaller in acreage than the wheat farms 
in the Plains and western areas. 

Less than a tenth of the cash-grain farms have 500 or more 
acres. (See table 11.) The number of cash-grain farms with 
more than 500 acres increased by 15 percent. This increase, how- 
ever, accounted for virtually all of the increase that took place in 
commercial farms of 500 to 1,000 acres and nearly half of the in- 
crease in farms of 1,000 acres and over. 

Farms of less than 10 acres decreased for most types of farms 
but increased substantially for cotton and other field-crop farms. 
This increase was probably due to the reduction in acreage allot- 
ments of cotton and tobacco. Many of these farms are operated 
by croppers. A reduction in the allotment on a multiple-unit 
operation, unless accompanied by a corresponding decrease in the 
number of croppers, usually means that fewer acres of land are 
assigned to each cropper. On other field-crop farms this was the 
only acreage-size group that increased in number. 

All of the net decrease in the number of commercial farms took 
place among farms that had between 10 and 220 acres. Decreases 
occurred in each type except cash-grain farms. 

Farms of 500 acres or more increased in number for most types. 
The exceptions are other field-crop, livestock, and general farms. 
Two-thirds of the increase was among cash-grain farms. Sizable 
increases also occurred for cotton, dairy, and other livestock farms. 

To summarize, changes in the distribution of farms by type 
and size show a trend toward increasing acreage in farms, for 
most types. This is to be expected during a period in which 
modern machinery has enabled a given labor force to handle a 
greater acreage. Cash-grain farms appear to be an exception, 
but this is mainly because of shifts to cash-grain from livestock 
and general farms in the Midwest. 

CHANGES IN FARM OPERATOR CHARACTERISTICS 

Along with changes in types and sizes of farms, there have 
been noticeable changes in the characteristics of the farm opera- 
tors. These changes are shown for types and economic classes 
of farms in table 12. The changes in operator characteristics are 
interrelated with the shifts that have taken place between types, 
economic classes, and acreage-size groups of farms as well as the 
overall reduction in commercial farm numbers and the sub- 
stantial migration from agriculture to nonfarm occupations. The 
data are more adequate for describing the characteristics in each 
year than for making precise estimates of changes in each partic- 
ular type or economic class. 

Age of operator. — By economic class of farm, the median age 
of farm operators increased between 1950 and 1954 for all except 
Class I and Class II farms. On Class VI farms (which decreased 
in number by 236,000), the median age increased from 53 to 58 
years. 

These changes reflect the movement of young men out of agri- 
culture to part-time or full-time nonfarm jobs and fewer young 
men taking up farming on the smaller farms. The incomes 
from these smaller farms probably do not compare favorably 
with earnings from wages and salaries in nonfarm occupations. 
The decrease in median age for Class I farms (along with an 
identical age on Class II farms) indicates that some of the younger 
farmers have taken advantage of opportunities for increasing 
their volume of farm sales. 

By type of farm, the median age of operators increased for 
each type except poultry farms. As each type of farm has a 
large proportion of the farms in the smaller economic classes, the 
effect of decreasing age among Class I and II farmers does not 
become apparent. Decreasing age among poultry farmers is 
related to the increasing specialization in broiler and egg produc- 
tion. It is probable that many younger farmers, having small 
acreage, have reorganized the farms for specialized poultry 
production. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



27 



-Specified Farms and Farm-Operator Characteristics, by Type and by Economic Class for Commercial Farms, for 
the United States: 1950 and 1954 







Median 
age of 

operator 
(years) 


Owners, 

part- 
managers 
(percent) 


Working off 
farm 100 
days or 

(percent) 


Other In- 
come greater 
than farm 

sales 
(percent) 


Residing 
on farm 

operated- 
percent 
total 

residence 

(percent) 


Farms reporting 


Economic class and type of farm 


Tractors, ex- 
cluding 
garden 
(percent) 


Tractors 
with no 
horses or 

mules 
(percent) 


Commercial farms by economic class: 




47.6 
49.0 


69.1 
71.2 


9.1 
13.0 


9.1 
10.8 


95.2 
93.8 


57.9 
71.1 


27.4 




1954.. 


45.3 


Class I 


1950.. 


46.1 
45.6 
45.2 
45.2 


81.7 
77.8 
71.3 
69.5 


8.1 
7.8 
6.3 
7.4 


4^6 
4.2 
4.4 


84.6 
84.5 
93.5 
93.0 


84.8 
91.0 

92' 4 


38.3 




1954.. 


54.5 
43.8 




1954.. 


62.8 






45.5 
46.5 
46.9 
48.5 


70.3 

70^0 
70.4 


7.0 
10.2 
11.0 
16.2 


5.3 
6.4 
10.2 
12.6 


95.5 
94.4 
95.5 
94.2 


85.0 

67] 9 
76.0 


39.5 




1954.. 


59.3 
30.8 




1954.. 


47.1 






47.9 
50.3 
53.3 


67.1 
69.9 
66.4 


17.4 

24.4 


20.7 
24.3 


95.6 
93.0 
96.5 
95.4 


41.9 
56.3 
18.5 
32.4 


20.7 




1954- 


34.4 
9.3 










18.8 


Commercial farms by type: 




44.7 
47.3 
44.2 
46.2 


62.2 
67.2 
38.3 
40.7 
53.3 
56.6 


9.8 
14.6 
5.4 

a 4 


7.2 
10.4 
6.0 
6.3 
6.1 
6.5 


88.4 
89.0 
96.3 
94.5 
96.4 
94.8 


85.2 
91.8 
30.8 
41.6 
28.2 
44.0 


51.2 


Cotton 


1954.. 


16! 3 




1954- 


25.7 
9.8 




1954.. 


17.9 


Vegetable -- 

Fruit-and-nut - 


1950- 

1954.. 
1950- 

1954- 


48.6 
50.3 
54.0 
54.8 


82! 9 

93.9 
95.7 


11.5 
15.2 
21.5 
27.7 


11. 1 
13.7 
19.8 
26.1 


90.4 
87.8 
87.6 
84.5 


56.9 

59i 2 

65.7 


38.9 
55.2 
48.1 
55.1 


Poultry — 

General: 
Primarily crop - 

Primarily livestock 


1954.. 
1950.. 

1954- 
1950- 

1954- 


48.7 
49.0 
54.4 
53.9 
49.7 
51.0 


85.0 

9Z 7 
93.6 

78.9 
80.4 


10.2 
14.0 
18.2 
24.1 
9.5 
13.4 


9.3 
10.1 
21.6 
23.3 

9.8 
12.4 


98.0 
97.7 
97.7 
97.1 
94.8 
93.1 


71.5 
85.4 
35.8 
46.9 
67.8 
80.6 


31.5 

29! 

35.8 
24.1 

44.7 


1950.. 

1954.. 
1950- 

1954- 


47.1 
49.2 
50.4 
50.9 
47.6 
48.7 


71.5 
75.4 
80.2 
81.8 
73.6 
75.2 


9.6 
15.8 
7.0 
9.8 
6.7 
10.1 


10.4 
14.9 
7.7 
7.6 
7.3 
8.5 


93.2 
91.2 
98.6 
98.3 
97.7 
97.1 


57.4 

70^6 
84.6 
73.7 
88.5 


27.3 
46.4 
31.2 
56.0 
31.6 




1954.. 


54.9 




1954- 


52.1 
53.5 


92.6 
94.7 


18.1 
22.4 


20.4 
23.5 


90.6 
88.9 


29.1 
47.2 


23.2 
28.9 



Tenure of operator. — On Class I and Class II farms, the pro- 
portion of tenancy increased. This may indicate that many of 
the younger farmers are renting their land and equipment, and 
using any cash reserves to increase the scope of their operations 
rather than investing in ownership. Increasing ownership among 
the smaller economic classes of farms is associated with the overall 
decline in tenancy, particularly among croppers on cotton and 
tobacco farms. Also, an increasing proportion of the smallest 
economic classes of farms are probably serving as retirement 
units for elderly persons who own their farms. Three-fourths 
of the Class VI farms were owned, in full or in part, in 1954. 
This is the highest proportion for any economic class except 
Class I. 

There was an increase in the proportion of operators that were 
full and part owners for each type of farm. In general, this in- 
crease was smallest among types already predominantly owner 
operated. On the other hand, cotton and other field-crop farms — 
types that have a relatively high proportion of tenant opera- 
tors — showed only small increases in farms operated by owners 
and part owners. 

Off-farm work and other income. — The proportion of com- 
mercial farm operators working off their farms 100 or more days 
and those having a family income from off-farm sources exceeding 
the value of farm sales, increased substantially between 1950 and 



1954. These increases took place among each economic class, 
except Class I, and for each type of farm. A much higher propor- 
tion of the operators on the smaller economic classes worked off 
the farm and had a greater off-farm income than sales from the 
farm. 

The types of farms differ considerably in respect to the propor- 
tions of each type that reported 100 or more days of off-farm 
work and other income exceeding sales. For example, approxi- 
mately a fourth of the fruit-and-nut and poultry farms reported 
these items compared with less than 10 percent of the cotton 
and other field-crop farms. 

Residence of farm operator. — Virtually all (94 percent) of the 
farm operators live on the farms they operate. The proportion 
of nonresident landlords is highest among Class I farms, about 15 
percent. The smaller economic classes show small difference in 
respect to residence, having only about 5 percent nonresident 
operators. By type of farm, the proportion of nonresident 
operators ranges from a high of 15 percent on fruit-and-nut 
farms to a low of 2 to 3 percent on dairy, poultry, and general 
livestock farms. 

Nonresident operators increased between 1950 and 1954 among 
each economic class except Class I and among each of the types 
of farms. 



28 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



CHANGES IN FARM RESOURCES 

Tractors on farms. — Mechanization of farms continued between 
1950 and 1954. Whereas 58 percent of the commercial farms 
reported a tractor (excluding garden tractors) in 1950, the pro- 
portion had increased to 71 percent in 1954. Approximately 90 
percent or more of Economic Classes I, II, and III reported 
tractors. On the smaller economic classes, fewer farms have a 
tractor. The proportion of the smaller farms reporting a tractor, 
however, increased substantially between 1950 and 1954. 

Increasing mechanization (as indicated by tractor numbers) 
took place for all types of farms. The increase was less for cash- 
grain farms than for other types because these farms were already 
highly mechanized. More than 90 percent reported a tractor in 
1954. In general, the greatest rate of increase was among types 
that are comparatively low in the proportion of farms reporting 
tractors, such as cotton and other field-crop farms. 

Noticeable also, between 1950 and 1954, was the sharp increase 
in the number of farms that depend upon tractors alone as a 
source of work power. The proportion of all commercial farms 
that reported a tractor and no workstock increased from 27 
percent to 45 percent. The trend toward complete dependency 
on tractors as a source of work power is evident on each economic 
class and each type of farm. "Horseless farming" is more common, 
however, to Economic Classes II and III and among cash-grain, 
fruit-and-nut, vegetable, dairy, and general farms. 

land resources and market output. — Between 1949 and 1954, 
the value of farm products sold by commercial farmers increased by 
12 percent (see table 13). This increase was accomplished on 
approximately the same land acreage in farms. The total land in 
commercial farms increased by only 1 percent. There was a slight 
decrease in the land that was in harvested crops and an increase 
in the land that was pastured. More of the land was irrigated, 
an increase of 16 percent. Irrigated land, however, accounted 
for only 3 percent of the total land in farms. In 1954, farmers 
valued their farmland and buildings 29 percent higher than in 1950. 

The larger economic classes of farms accounted for an increasing 
amount of land resources and of market sales. The value of farm 
products sold was a third greater for Class I farms and a fifth 
greater for Class II farms. On Class I farms, the land in har- 
vested crops was a fifth greater. This increase in harvested crop- 
land among Class I farms was due largely to the greater number of 
cash-grain farms that were included in Class I in 1954. The acre- 
age of land pastured on Class I farms did not change, but the 
acreage of land irrigated increased by nearly two-fifths. 

The greatest increase in total land was among Class II farms, 
an increase of 12 percent. Among farms in this class, the cropland 
harvested, land pastured, and land irrigated each increased by 
more than 10 percent. The land pastured increased on the smaller 
economic classes of farms whereas there were decreases in both 
total land and land in harvested crops. The value of farm products 
sold was approximately the same for Economic Class III and 
decreased on Classes IV, V, and VI. 

By type of farm, there was an increasing concentration of land 
resources and market sales on cash-grain farms. The value of 
farm products sold on cash-grain farms increased by more than 
two-fifths. The land in farms and the harvested cropland increased 
substantially, but the greatest change was in land pastured — an 
increase of a fourth in acreage. This increase was influenced by 
the shift into the cash-grain category of many farms classified 
in 1950 as livestock and general. A higher proportion of the 
cash-grain farms in 1954 were in the Midwest. These farms have 
a larger proportion of the land in pasture than the cash-grain 
farms in the Plains area farther west. There was a decrease of 
nearly half in the land resources contained in general livestock 
farms between 1950 and 1954. 

By far the greatest increase in land irrigated was on cotton 
farms — an increase of 60 percent. This came about mostly in 
the western cotton-producing areas. 



Table 13. — Specified Farm Resources, Percent 1954 is of 1950, 
by Economic Class and by Type of Farm, for the United 

States 



Economic class and type 
of farm 


Num- 
ber of 

(per- 
cent) 


Land in 
cent) 


Crop- 
land 
har- 
vested 
(per- 
cent) 


All 
pas- 
(per- 


'(Per- 
cent) 


Value 

■ it hnnl 

and 
build- 
ings 
(per- 
cent) 


Value 
of all 

prod- 
sold 
(per- 
cent) 


Economic class of farm: 

All commercial farms 


90 
130 
118 
98 
92 
85 
64 

90 
125 
86 
90 
70 

100 
91 
88 

86 

95 

47 

74 
74 


101 
104 
112 
103 
97 
93 
74 

1C1 
119 

88 
88 

124 
100 
94 

101 

103 

52 

84 
102 


98 
119 
113 

96 

89 
81 
58 

98 
116 

94 
85 
90 

112 
51 

84 


105 
100 
112 
110 
106 
106 

105 
124 
116 
99 
98 

117 
101 

104 

99 

55 

88 
120 


116 
139 
115 
94 

86 

75 

116 
122 
159 
106 
102 

97 
113 
82 

100 

96 
120 


129 
167 
145 
119 
111 
108 
84 

129 
153 
135 
120 
126 

149 
122 
116 

125 

145 

105 
127 


112 






















Type of farm : 








Cotton 

Other field-crop 

Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 


118 
108 
104 

160 


Poultry 

Livestock other than 
dairy and poultry 

General: 

Primarily crop 

Primarily live- 


124 
98 

134 


Crop and live- 
stock 

Miscellaneous 


96 
103 



Notwithstanding decreases in the number of farms for most 
types of farms, there was an increase in irrigated land among all 
types except fruit-and-nut, poultry, general livestock, and general 
crop and livestock farms. 

The value of land and buildings for commercial farms increased 
by 29 percent between 1950 and 1954. Part of this increase is due 
to improvements, such as improved pastures and new and better 
houses and farm buildings, made to the land. The increases 
also reflect increases in land values. 

Between 1950 and 1954, land values rose much more than market 
sales for each economic class and type of farm. The increase of 
two-thirds in the value of land and buildings on Class I farms is 
associated with an increase of only a third in gross farm sales and 
an increase of but a fifth in the number of farms. On Class II 
farms, land value increased more than two-fifths; sales of farm 
products increased by one-fifth. On the smaller economic classes 
as well, there was an increase in value relative to the volume of 
farm sales. 

Increasing land values relative to market sales took place on 
each type of farm with the exception of fruit-and-nut farms and 
poultry farms. Prices received by farmers for fruits were 12 
percent higher in 1954 than in 1949; poultry and egg prices, 
however, were 20 percent lower. The increase in market sales 
relative to land value probably relates to shifts in the geographic 
concentration of poultry production and to developments that 
have encouraged more intensive production of broilers and eggs on 
fairly small acreages. 

The increase in land values between 1950 and 1954 can be 
explained partly by the strong demand for land by farmers who 
wanted to enlarge their farms, for the increasing mechanization of 
farms means that more land can be handled with the same or a 
smaller labor force. Farmers that bought tractors and related 
equipment have frequently been faced with the need to enlarge 
their farms in order to utilize their machinery more efficiently, 
and provide full employment for their labor force. It is also 
probable that increasing land values have resulted from the growth 
of towns and cities and the increasing demand for land for resi- 
dential and other purposes. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



29 



CHARACTERISTICS OF TYPE OF FARM BY ECONOMIC CLASS 



The structure of farming today reflects the changes that have 
affected farmers so differently. Close attention to this structure 
is basic to an understanding of the problems confronting farmers 
and of the adjustments that are needed in a changing Nation. 

Farm Operator Characteristics 

Color and tenure of operator. — In 1954, 71 percent of the 
operators of commercial farms were owners, part owners, or man- 
agers. (See table 14.) This was an increase from 69 percent in 



Table 14. — Proportion of Farms Operated by Owners, 
Part-Owners, and Managers, and Croppers, and by 
White and Nonwhite Operators, for Each Type of Farm 
by Economic Class, for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


FULL OWNERS, PART OWNERS. 
AND MANAGERS 

All commercial farms, total 


71.2 
67.2 
40.7 
56. 7 
82 9 

95.7 
86. 4 
93.6 

80.4 

75.4 
81.8 
75.2 
94.7 

76.0 
67.3 
54.4 
64.0 
85.1 

96.4 

93! 6 

SO. 4 

78.2 
81.8 
75.2 
95.3 

28.7 
22.7 
30.9 
68.5 

7.3 
28.7 
21.3 

0.5 

3.2 
14.4 
14.7 

0.4 

43.5 
47.5 
44.5 
10.2 


77 v 
70 3 
69.8 

Ml X 

78 5 

95 7 

82. 2 
91.4 

71.7 

80.3 
82.1 

77.(1 
95.3 

77.8 
70.2 

8L7 

79.3 

96.5 
82.1 

"1 1 

71.7 

80.2 

82. 1 
76.8 
95.6 

75.9 
68 v 
64 7 

0.4 
1.4 

0.7 
0.2 

0.4 
1.4 
0.6 
0.2 

0.9 
8.9 
1.7 
0.1 


69.5 

:,s :, 
58.fi 
68.0 
82. 2 

94. r, 
79 7 
93.3 

66. 4 

71 5 
09.3 
64.0 

58^5 
58.9 
70.0 
83.4 

95.7 
79.7 
93. 4 

06.4 

71.9 
69.2 
64.0 
93.4 

60.7 
49.5 

;o .; 
74.1 

0.6 
3.5 

1, 11 
0.3 

0.5 

3.1 
4.4 

n 1' 

11.3 
17.0 
34.2 
2.0 


70.6 
62.0 
II 7 
47. 6 
81.2 

•17. .'. 

83 3 
94. 3 

74.7 

69.5 
72.7 
67. 1 
93.9 

72.0 
62.0 
50.4 
55.2 
84.6 

96.1 
83.3 
94.3 

74.7 

71.6 
72.7 
67.1 
95.0 

24.3 
18.7 
16.4 
60.6 

2.9 
16.5 
22.7 

0.4 

1.6 
9.5 
14.9 
0.3 

15. 5 

49.0 
54.7 
10.8 


70! 

35.9 

45 6 

96, 4 

88.5 
93. 9 

S4 4 

72.2 

84.4 

94! 7 

76.0 
70.1 
49.0 
54.9 

96.5 
88.6 

91 II 

84.5 

77.2 
84.4 
77.fi 
95.3 

20.3 
15.6 
20.5 
57.0 

32! 5 
28.1 
0.6 

4.2 

17.4 

18.8 

0.4 

52.2 
55.7 
53 11 
19 


69.9 
77. 9 
:i4.0 
.58.6 
84.9 

96.5 
90.9 
94.1 

89.2 

78.9 
89.8 
85.7 
95.3 

79 4 

78.1 
51.7 
65.7 
87.2 

96.9 
90.9 
94.2 

89.3 

82.7 
89.8 

.85 9 

95.8 

23.9 
16.8 
35.5 
67.1 

13.1 
37.6 
22.0 
0.8 

5.5 
19.3 
16.3 

0.6 

49. 5 
55.4 
40.4 
12.1 


75.2 














Fruit-and-nut 


96.1 






Livestock other than dairy and 




General: 

Primarily crop 


84.8 










































Livestock oilier than dairy and 




General: 
































CROPPERS 
All commercial farms, total 


9.6 















































1950. All tenants (including croppers) operated 29 percent of 
the commercial farms. 

Ownership of the land is more common among operators of 
some types of farms than others. More than 90 percent of the 
operators of fruit-and-nut and poultry farms were included in the 
ownership group. The lowest proportions of owners are among 
cotton farmers (41 percent), other field-crop farmers (57 percent), 
and cash-grain farmers (67 percent). On all other types of farms 
the ownership ranged between 75 percent and 90 percent. 

For all commercial farms as a group, the highest proportion of 
ownership is found among Class I farms (78 percent) followed 
closely by Class VI farms (75 percent). This varies considerably 
by type of farm, however. On vegetable farms, dairy farms, 
poultry farms, and other livestock farms, ownership is lowest 
among Classes I and II. 

A much higher proportion of the white operators, than of 
nonwhite operators, were owners, part owners, and managers, in 
1954: 76 percent for white operators compared with 29 percent 
for nonwhite operators. Among both white and nonwhite oper- 
ators, ownership was lowest among operators of cotton and other 
field-crop farms. Among these types of farms, ownership was 
lowest for the intermediate classes and highest on Class I and 
Class VI. 

The high proportion of tenancy among cotton and other field- 
crop farms and among nonwhite operators is influenced by the 
counting of cropper units as farms. Most of the croppers (95 
percent) are found among cotton and other field-crop farms. (See 
table 1 5.) Also more than 90 percent of the nonwhite operators 
are found among these two types of farms. 

Nearly half of the nonwhite operators on cotton and other field- 
crop farms were croppers in 1954. They were concentrated in 
the smaller economic classes of farms. 



Table 15. — Percent Distribution of Farms in Each Tenure 
and Color Group by Type and Economic Class of Farm, 
for the United States: 1954 



Type and economic class of farm 


Owners, 

part-own- 
ers, and 

maiiaL'rls 


All ten- 
ants 


Croppers 


White 
operators 


Nonwhite 

operators 


Type of farm : 


100.0 
15.3 
9.0 
8.8 
1, 1 

3.3 

20.0 
6.1 

23.6 

2.5 
2.2 

lie 

100.0 
4.4 

13.2 
21.1 
24.1 
22,5 
14.7 


100.0 
18.4 
32.5 
16.6 

0.4 
7.7 
1.0 

14.2 

2.0 
1.2 
5.3 
0.2 

100.0 
3.1 

14.3 
21.6 
25.1 
24.0 
12.0 


100.0 
1.2 
62.3 
32.3 
0.2 

m 

0.3 
0.8 

. ' 6 
0! 1 

100.0 
0.2 
1.2 
8.6 
30.3 
41.3 
18.4 


100.0 
17.9 
10.0 

L0 

2.7 
18.3 

23.0 

2. 1 
6.7 

100.0 

R9 
22.9 
24.4 
21.2 
12.2 




















Fruit-and-nut 


0.8 






Livestock other than dairy 




General: 


2.2 


Primarily livestock 

Crop and livestock 


0.1 
0.7 


Economic class of farm : 










1.2 








24.4 








28.8 







i than 0.05 percent. 



30 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Residence of farm operators. — Most farm families live on the 
farm they operate. In 1954, only 6 percent of all commercial 
farm operators reported that they did not live on the farm (see 
table 16). The highest proportions of nonresident operators were 
on fruit-and-nut farms (15 percent), vegetable farms (12 percent), 
and cash-grain farms (11 percent;. The lowest proportions of 
nonresident operators were on dairy, poultry, and general farms. 



Table 16. — Percent of Nonresident Operators for Type of 
Farm by Economic Class, for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




6.2 
11.0 

5.S 
6.2 
12.2 

15.5 
2.3 
2.9 

6.9 

8.8 
1.7 
2.9 


15.5 
16.2 
23.0 
18.0 
33.8 

21.1 

7.7 
8.2 

12.2 

22.2 
6.7 
9.4 

24.0 


7.0 
9.0 

13.2 
7.2 

14.6 

16.9 
3.5 
3.3 

6.2 

9.2 
2.2 
3.4 
15.3 


5.6 
9.0 

3^9 
10.1 

17.2 
2.2 
2.6 

5.8 

7.8 
1.8 
2.5 
11.6 


5.8 
12.1 
4.7 
4.1 
9.2 

15.4 
1.9 
2.5 

7.0 

7.4 
0.4 
2.9 
9.8 


6.1 
14.2 
4.0 
5.7 
9.1 

13.2 
2.0 
2.2 

8.5 

8.7 
1.6 
2.6 
7.0 




Cash-grain. 


11.6 












5.4 




1.7 






Livcslork otln r than dairy and poul- 




Oeneral: 





















Among operators of each type of farm the proportion of non- 
residence was higher for Class I farms than for the smaller economic 
classes. Except for Class I, however, there is no strong relation- 
ship between residence of the operator and the value of farm sales. 

A substantially higher proportion of the farmers on Class I 
farms lived away from their farms, where the major source of 
farm sales was from crops. A third of the operators of Class I 
vegetable farms and approximately a fifth of those on Class I 
cotton farms, other field-crop farms, fruit-and-nut farms, and 
general farms did not live on their farms in 1954. On Class I 
dairy and poultry farms, for example, only about 8 percent of 
the operators were nonresidents. 

Work off the farm and other income. — The proportion of farm 
operators working off their farms 100 or more days, or reporting 
that family income from nonfarm sources exceeded the value of 
farm sales, was greater among the smaller economic classes of 
farms (see tables 17 and 18). These proportions were lowest 
among cotton and other field-crop farms and highest among 
fruit-and-nut and poultry farms. Fruit-and-nut farms also 
reported the highest proportion of nonresident operators and 
poultry farms were among the lowest. 

Approximately half of the operators of Class V fruit-and-nut 
farms and two-fifths of those on poultry farms worked off their 
farms 100 or more days or had other income that exceeded farm 
sales. In contrast, only a tenth of the cotton and other field-crop 
farms so reported. 

Age of operator. — The median age of operator increased with 
decreasing size (as measured by gross sales of farm products) 
for each type of farm (see table 19). On several types (cash-grain, 
dairy, other livestock, and general farms) the operators of Class I 
farms were older than those of Class II farms. The median age 
of Class VI farm operators was over 65 years on poultry farms and 
nearly 65 years on fruit-and-nut and general livestock farms. 



Table 17- — Operators Working Off the Farm 100 or More 
Days as Percentage of Operators Reporting as to Off- 
farm Work, for Each Type of Farm, by Economic Class, 
for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




13.3 
15.0 

7.9 
8.5 
15.4 

27.9 
14.4 

24.7 

13.7 

lfi.O 
10.1 
10.3 
23.0 


8.0 

4.9 
7.3 

S II 

8.1 

13.3 

8.3 
14.5 

6.1 

8.2 
10.0 

5.1 
10.2 


7.6 
5.6 
9.3 
7.2 
9.7 

19.2 

20.2 

5.3 

7.9 
5.0 
4.5 
17.0 


10.4 

9.9 
9.8 
6.1 
14.6 

28.9 
10.0 
29.8 

8.6 

11.6 
6.6 
6.6 

22.7 


16.5 
21.1 
9.5 
7.7 
23.2 

37.4 
18.2 

36.6 

18.4 

17.8 
11.3 
12.2 
32.8 


24.6 
36.4 
12.0 
15.2 
31.5 

47.1 
28.3 
40.1 

33.9 

30.4 
19.8 
20.8 
41.4 
































Livestock iittier than dairy and poul- 




General: 





















Table 18. — Percentage of Farms With Other Income 
Greater Than the Value of Farm Products Sold, for 
Each Type of Farm, by Economic Class, for the United 
States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


m 


IV 


V 


VI 




10.8 
10.4 
6.3 
6.5 
13.7 

26.1 
10.1 
23.3 

12.4 

14.9 
7.7 
8.6 

23.6 


4.6 
1.9 

2.8 
3.1 
4.5 

7.1 
6.4 

4.2 

3.9 
7.8 
4.1 
7.5 


4.4 
2.2 
4.4 
2.9 
6.4 

13.2 
3.6 
16.0 

3.4 

5.2 
1.9 
2.0 
14.7 


6.4 
4.6 
6.8 
3.4 
10.7 

24.1 
4.8 
25.7 

6.3 

7.9 
2.8 
3.5 
20.9 


12.6 
14.0 
6.5 
6.3 
18.9 

36.6 

11.6 
34.7 

16.0 

15.6 
8.0 
9.8 

32.7 


24.3 
33.3 
11.3 
13.4 
34.7 

53.8 
26.2 
45.5 

34.6 

32.9 

19.6 
21.6 
48.5 
































Livestock other than dairy and poul- 




General: 





















Table 19. — Median Age of Operator for Type of Farm by 
Economic Class, for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




49.0 
47.3 
47.3 
46.2 
50. 3 

64.8 

49.0 
53.9 

51.0 

49.2 
50.9 
48.7 
53.5 


45.6 
44.0 
43.2 
44.8 
44.8 

50.6 
47.1 
45.7 

45.6 

46.3 
45.3 
45.7 
50.0 


45.2 
43.9 
44.9 
44.1 
47.0 

52.5 
45.8 
47.7 

45.1 

45.0 
43.1 
43.6 
50.4 


46.5 
45.6 
45.8 
44.3 
47.9 

54.3 
45.9 
50.4 

48.0 

46.4 
45.2 
45.2 
51.0 


48.5 
49.0 
46.1 
43.8 
50.1 

65.7 
48.6 
53.3 

51.5 

47.7 
50.7 

Hi. :■ 
52.4 


60.3 
50.6 
46.4 
46.4 
61.6 

65.5 
52.0 
57.0 

53.9 

50.7 
56.2 
53.0 
54.6 








Cotton 


51.0 
















65+ 


Livestock other than dairy and 


61.?. 


General: 






64.8 








«!.» 







A GENERAL VIEW 



31 



Man-Equivalents of Labor Used 

For the purpose of showing the amount of farm labor used on 
commercial farms, all labor was converted to a man-equivalent 
basis. This was necessary in order that meaningful comparisons 
might be made between the different types and sizes of farms. 

Getting an estimate of the labor used is more difficult in agri- 
culture than for most other industries. Farming, generally, is 
highly seasonal. Certain farming operations performed during 
the year, such as cultivating and harvesting, usually require more 
labor than is needed for the remainder of the year. 

The seasonal needs for labor in farming vary between different 
types of farms and between farms in different geographic locations. 
Therefore, data on the number of workers, if based on any given 
week, are likely to be less representative of the annual average 
on some farms than on others. Many wives and children of farm- 
ers work part time at field work and chores. The farmer himself 
frequently does not work full time on the farm hut may have a 
nonfarm job or business. 

For these reasons, the total farm labor used was estimated in 
man-equivalents from use of other data obtained by the Census. 
As used in this report, a man-equivalent of labor is a relative 
measure of employment. The estimates are designed primarily 
toward the objective of securing rough comparability in the 
amount of labor used between types and sizes of farms. A man- 
equivalent, as used here, represents approximately a man-year 
of farm work, but no attempt is made to specify the exact number 
of days or hours represented. 

Operator labor. — The farm operator was considered to be equal 
to 1 man-equivalent of farm labor unless he worked off the farm 
or was 65 years of age or older. Farm operators who worked 
off the farm 1 to 99 days were estimated at 0.85, those working 
off the farm 100 to 199 days at 0.5 and those working off the farm 
200 or more days at 0.15 man-equivalents of labor. A reduction 
of 0.5 man-equivalents was made for each operator who was 65 
years or older. 

As estimated in this report, farm-operator labor per farm is a 
fairly constant factor in the labor force. For most types of 
farms his labor amounted to between 0.7 and 0.8 man-equivalents 
(see table 20). Operator labor on cotton and other field-crop 
farms was slightly higher and on fruit-and-nut farms and poultry 
farms was slightly lower than this range. 

By economic class of farm, operator labor tended to be higher 
on Class I farms for most types and decreased with decreasing 
size of farm. For each type of farm, however, operator labor per 
farm was higher on Class VI than on Class V farms. This is 
because Class VI farms, by definition, had no operators who 
worked off the farm as much as 100 days. The relatively small 
amount of operator labor on Class VI farms is due to the higher 
proportion of operators who were 65 years or older. 

Unpaid family labor. — The number of family members who were 
reported working 15 or more hours without pay during the specified 
calendar week (September 26-Oetober 2 or October 24r-30, de- 
pending on the date of enumeration) were estimated at 0.5 man- 
equivalents each. This reduction was made in recognition of the 
higher composition of children and elderly persons in the unpaid 
family labor force. Individually, these are not usually considered 
t he equivalent of an able-bodied adult worker. 



Unpaid family labor, as estimated, amounted only from one-fourth 
to one-half as much as the operator labor. The larger economic 
classes of farms naturally had the most operator labor. Unpaid 
family labor was most important on the intermediate sizes (Classes 
II, III, and IV); it ranged from one-third to one-half man-equiv- 
alents on most types. Highest in use of unpaid family labor 
were cotton, other field-crop, dairy, and general livestock farms. 
The lowest were fruit-and-nut, cash-grain, and other livestock 
farms. 



Table 20. — Average Man-Equivalents of Labor Used on 
Each Type of Farm by Economic Class, for the United 
States: 1954 



Type of farm 


Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial farms 


1.46 
0.78 
0.34 
0.34 

1.23 
0.77 
0.25 
0.20 

1.70 
0.86 
0.48 
0.36 

1.51 
0.85 
0.40 
0.27 

3. 57 
0.76 
0.31 
2.49 

2.46 
0.64 
0.19 
1.62 

1.44 
0.77 
0.40 
0.26 

1.16 
0.65 
0.29 
0.21 

1.30 
0.76 
0.26 
0.28 

1.61 
0.76 
0.30 
0.56 

1.29 
0.79 
0.40 
0.11 

1.37 
0.81 
0.38 
0.18 

2.73 
0.68 
0.22 
1.83 


5.42 

0^27 
4.29 

:-; (17 
0.89 
0.27 

7.76 
0.90 
0.16 
6.70 

8.59 

0^29 
7.44 

17 82 

II S.S 

0.23 

16.71 

9.01 
0.80 
0.18 
8.04 

5.36 
0.85 
0.33 
4.17 

2.71 
0.83 
0.36 
1.52 

3.27 

II..H7 
II 2S 

2.12 

7.93 

II si; 
0.24 

:; 79 

11 M' 

0.49 

2 IS 

4.33 
n s7 
0.40 
3.06 

12.29 
0.82 
0.20 

11.26 


0.35 
0.60 

1.51 
0.87 
0.31 
0.33 

2.51 
0.87 
0.25 
1.39 

2.42 

ll S7 
0.41 
1.14 

3.59 
0.84 
0.40 
2.35 

2.63 
0.74 
0.22 
1.67 

1.97 

n si; 
0.44 
0.67 

1.43 

0.77 
0.38 
0.27 

1.61 
0.87 
a 32 
0.42 

2.07 
0.85 
0.31 
0.90 

1.69 
0.88 
0.49 
0.31 

1.74 
0.88 
0.44 
0.42 

2.80 
0.77 
0.27 
1.76 


1.43 
0.83 
0.38 
0.22 

1.23 
0.82 
0.29 
0.12 

1.93 
0.87 
0.57 
0.49 

1.79 
0.89 
0.57 
0.33 

2.00 

a 78 

0.37 

1.61 
0.65 
0.22 

1.46 
0.83 
0.45 
0.19 

1.13 

0^36 
0.10 

1.33 
0.83 
0.31 
0.19 

1.53 
0.82 
0.35 
0.35 

1.42 
0.86 
0.46 
0.10 

1.42 

o si; 

0.42 
0.14 

1.66 
0.72 
0.28 
0.66 


1.27 
0.77 
0.39 
0.11 

1.00 
0.70 
0.24 
0.07 

1.68 
0.87 
0.66 
0.15 

1.50 

0.88 

n III 
0.13 

1.43 
0.72 
0.36 
0.36 

1.12 
0.56 
0.19 
0.36 

1.25 
0.76 
0.43 
0.07 

0.94 
0.59 
0.30 
0.05 

1.12 
0.73 
0.27 
0.12 

1.25 

0^33 
0.15 

1.26 

0.79 
0.42 
0.05 

1.26 

0^39 
0.07 

I. 16 
0.62 
0.24 
0.30 


1.09 

II 711 
0.34 
0.05 

0.83 
0.60 
0.19 
0.04 

1.40 
0.84 
0.51 
0.05 

1.21 

0^35 
0.06 

1.08 
0.63 
0.30 
0.15 

0.86 
0.49 

(l. is 
0.18 

1.05 
0.65 
0.37 
0.03 

0.77 
0.51 
0.24 
0.02 

0.88 

II. no 
0.21 
0.07 

1.00 
0.65 
0.28 
0.07 

1.05 
0.68 
0.34 
0.03 

1.07 
0.70 
0.32 
0.04 

0.86 
0.54 
0.20 
0.12 


1.04 












































1 07 






































Unpaid family labor 


0.16 


















Poultry 


0.81 


Unpaid family labor 


0.14 


Livestock other than dairy and poultry. 


0.94 


























General, primarily livestock 


0.91 


Unpaid family labor 


0.21 


General, crop and livestock 


1.04 


















Unpaid family labor 


0. 16 







32 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Hired labor. — Man-equivalents of hired labor were computed 
by dividing the expenditure for hired labor by the annual cash 
wage reported for regular hired workers for each type of farm. 

Hired labor is relatively unimportant in commercial farming 
as a whole. The man-equivalents of hired labor per farm totaled 
about 0.3 man-equivalent per farm in 1954. Only on vegetable, 
fruit-and-nut, and general crop farms, did hired labor exceed 
this amount. However, hired labor is of considerable importance 
on the larger economic classes of farms. The average for Class 
I farms of all types was more than 4 man-equivalents per farm in 
1954. The average vegetable farm in Class I hired the equivalent 
of 17 full-time workers that year. Eight man-equivalents of 
hired labor were used on Class I fruit-and-nut farms and 7 man- 
equivalents on Class I cotton and other field-crop, and general 
crop farms. In contrast, Class I cash-grain and poultry farms 
used less than 2 man-equivalents of hired labor per farm. 

Hired labor comprises a very small part of the farm labor force 
on farms in the smaller economic classes. For economic classes 
smaller than Class I it was less important than family labor on 
all types, with the exception of Class II cotton, vegetable, and 
fruit-and-nut farms. The use of hired labor decreases with 
decreasing size of farm for all types. 

Cash Wages Paid 

The land and labor resources and the value of investment for 
types of farms classified by economic class is useful as a measure 
of overall distribution of resources of production. When these 
resources are taken together there is a close association between 
the amount and value of resources and the value of farm products 
sold. 

Both the value of investment and the value of farm products 
are frequently used as measures of farm size. In the purely 
physical sense they appear to represent fairly adequate measures. 
But interest in farm size also stems from concern over the human 
factor in farming. As farms increase in size, measured by business 
volume, there is a tendency for the farming to involve more work 
than can be handled by the farm family, and for hired labor to 
become an increasingly important element in the day-to-day 
operations. Many persons have taken the increases in size of 
farm to mean a trend toward large-scale farms and a corresponding 
increase in the use of hired labor in agriculture. 

Since the economic classification has, as its largest size group- 
ing, farms that had sales of farm products valued at $25,000 or 
more, there is a tendency for these to be treated as representing 
large-scale operations employing much hired labor. Actually, 
many of these farms do employ a great deal of hired work. On 
many others the work is done primarily by members of the family. 
Furthermore, there is considerable variation by type of farm 
among Class I farms in the amount of hired labor employed. 

Table 21 and table 22 show the number and proportion of 
farms reporting specified amounts paid for hired labor for types 
of farms by economic class. Even among Class I farms, only 
two-fifths reported an expenditure of $5,000 or more. An expend- 
iture of $5,000 would probably represent the hiring of 2 to 3 
full-time workers at current wage rates for hired labor. 



By type of farm, Class I farms show striking differences in the 
proportion that paid $5,000 or more for hired labor. Only a fifth 
of the Class I cash-grain farms hired this amount of farm labor, 
reflecting the outstanding progress that has been made in mech- 
anization of the entire farming operation of the cash-grains. In 
contrast, other types of farming having a major source of income 
from crops use much more hired labor in producing $25,000 or 
more of farm products for sale. On cotton, other field-crop, and 
fruit-and-nut farms, two-thirds to three-fourths, and on vegetable 
farms nearly 90 percent, of the Class I farms had $5,000 or more 
expended for hired work. On these types of farms much labor is 
needed because many of the peak harvest operations are not com- 
pletely mechanized. Much of the labor hired on these farms is 



Livestock and poultry production is associated with relatively 
small use of hired labor, relative to sales. Even on Class I farms 
only a fifth of the poultry and a fourth of the livestock farms had 
a labor expenditure of $5,000 or more. About half of the dairy 
farmers in Class I reported an expenditure of $5,000 or more. 
Dairy and poultry farms characteristically buy large quantities 
of feed. Many livestock farmers, particularly those engaged in 
cattle and hog fattening, have high expenditures for purchases 
of feeder cattle and pigs. On these types of farms a smaller 
proportion of the gross sales is net than for most specialized crop 
farms. 

Farms with expenditures for hired labor of $5,000 or more are 
not restricted to Class I farms, however. More than a fourth of 
the farms employing this much hired work were classified as 
Class II. A fairly high proportion of Class II cotton, other field- 
crop, vegetable, and fruit-and-nut farms, reported hiring this 
much farm labor. 

On the smaller economic classes of farms (those with sales of 
farm products valued at less than $10,000) few farms of any type 
reported as much as $5,000 expended for hired labor. 



Table 21. — Percentage of Farms Reporting $5,000 or More 
Cash Wages Paid, for Each Type of Commercial Farm, by 
Economic Class, for the United States: 1954 





Total 




Economic class of farm 






I 


n 


III 


rv 


V 


VI 




2.4 
1.2 
2.8 

1.5 
16.7 

14.7 
1.8 
1.7 

1.9 

3.8 
0.4 
1.0 
16.2 


40.2 
21.2 
70.8 
64.8 
88.0 

73.5 
61.5 
17.1 

21.2 

56.5 
28.5 
34.8 
77.9 


4.7 
1.1 
13.7 
10.9 
41.3 

22.8 
4.2 
1.0 

2 4 

7.6 

l n 
2.2 

2K 2 


0.5 
0.2 
0.6 
0.4 
4.8 

3.5 
0.2 
0.2 

0.7 

0.8 
0.1 
0.3 
4.9 


0.2 
0.1 
(Z) 
(Z) 
0.9 

0.8 
(Z) 
0.2 

0.4 

0.2 
(Z) 
(Z) 
2.3 


(Z) 
(Z) 
(Z) 

(Z) 






m 




<7.) 




(7,) 








0.3 
(Z) 

0.1 

0.1 












Livestock other than <lairy and poul- 


(7.) 


General: 










(Z) 
0.4 













Z 0.05 percent or loss. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



33 



Table 22.- 



-Percentage Distribution of Commercial Farms in Each Type, by Economic Class of Farm, i 
for Hired Labor, for the United States: 1954 



Amount of Expenditure 





All com- 
mercial 


Type of farm 


Economic ebss un.l expenditure for 
hired labor 


Cash- 
grain 


Cotton 


fleld- 
crop 


Vege- 
table 


Fruit- 


Dairy 


Poultry 


Live- 
stock 

than 

dairy 

and 

poultry 


General — 




Pri- 
marily 
crop 


Pri- 
marily 

live- 
stock 


Crop 

live- 
stock 


Miscel- 
laneous 




100.0 
41.6 
45.8 
7.3 
3.0 

L4 
0.0 
0.4 

100.0 
7.0 
15.5 
18.3 
19.0 

40.2 
18.3 
13.2 
8.7 

100.0 
21.8 
42.2 
20.3 
11.1 

4.7 

(Z)' 

100.0 
34.3 
51.1 
11.6 
2.4 

0.5 

oil 

(Z) 

100.0 
41.6 
53.6 
4.1 

0.2 
0.1 

(Z) 

(Z) 

100.0 
51.1 
47.3 
1.3 
0.2 

(Z) 
(Z) 
(Z) 
(Z) 

100.0 
66.1 
33.4 
0.4 
0.1 

(Z) 
(Z) 
(Z) 


100.0 
45.1 
44.6 
6.8 
2.4 

1.2 
0.8 

100. 
6.4 
20.0 
27.5 
24.9 

21.2 
14.0 
5.2 
2.0 

100.0 
25.1 
52.2 

1.1 

0.9 

(Z)' 

100.0 
41.2 
62.8 
5.0 

0.2 
0.1 

(Z) 

(Z) 

100.0 
53.8 
43.6 

0^4 

0.1 
0.1 
(Z) 


100. 
39.0 
48.9 
6.5 
2.8 

2.8 

0.4 

100.0 
1.0 
3.3 

15' 9 

70.8 
31.0 
24.5 
15.3 

100.0 
4.5 
16.7 
29.7 
35.4 

13.7 

1.2 

(Z) 

100.0 
14.4 
42.0 
36.7 
6.4 

0.6 
0.5 
0.1 


100.0 
30.5 
60.7 
5.6 
1.7 

1.5 

0.4 
0.3 

100.0 
1.7 

10! 1 
16.5 

64.8 
27.0 
21.1 

16.7 

100.0 
5.3 
25.3 
34.5 
24.0 

10.9 
10.0 
0.9 
(Z) 

100.0 
11.1 
65.5 
20.2 
2.8 

0.4 
0.3 
0.1 


100.0 
24.8 
35.8 
14.3 
8.4 

16.7 
7.0 
5.1 
4.7 

100. 
0.3 
1.4 
3.9 
6.3 

88.0 
15.8 
32.0 
40.2 

100.0 
3.7 
8.9 
17.8 
28.3 

41.3 
32.3 
8.7 
0.3 

100.0 
11.9 
27.5 

17^6 

4.8 
4.2 
0.6 


100.0 
15.2 
39.8 
18.8 
11.4 

14.7 

7.8 

100.0 
2.1 

7l2 
14.2 

73.5 
27.3 
26.8 
19.4 

100.0 
4.6 
16.8 
25.4 
30.4 

22.8 
18.8 
3.9 
0.1 

100.0 
9.5 
36.2 
36.9 
13.9 

3.5 
3.0 
0.5 
(Z) 

100. 

69^9 
21.0 
3.5 

0.8 
0.6 
0.1 


100.0 
46. 
41.4 
7.8 
3.0 

1.8 
1.2 

0^2 

100.0 
4.5 
8.3 
13.6 
22.2 

61.5 
26. 7 
17.7 
7.1 

100.0 
18.9 
37.0 
26.1 
13.8 

4.2 
3.8 

100.0 
36.9 
50.6 
10.6 
1.8 

0.2 
(Z) 


100.0 
61. 1 
29.1 
5.5 
2.6 

1.7 
1.1 

6.1 

100.0 
19.6 
26. 3 
20.5 
16.5 

10! 8 
4.9 
1.5 

100.0 
41.5 
40.1 
12.8 
4.6 

1.0 
0.8 
0.1 


100.0 
43.1 
43.8 

3^2 

1.9 
1.2 
0.5 
0.2 

100.0 
9.5 
24.1 
24.5 
20.6 

21.2 
11.9 
6.1 
3.2 

100.0 
24.9 
48.6 
17.2 
6.9 

2.4 
2.0 
0.4 
(Z) 

100.0 
36.9 
51.9 
8.4 
2.2 

0.7 

oil 

(Z) 

100.0 

4&9 
4.9 
1.1 

0.4 
0.3 
0.1 
(Z) 

100.0 
54.6 
41.8 
2.8 
0.6 

0.1 
0.1 

(Z) 

(Z) 

100.0 
69.5 
29.3 
1.0 
0.2 

(Z) 

(Z) 
(Z) 


100.0 
32.1 
50.2 
9.6 
4.3 

3.8 
2.2 

0^7 

100.0 
3.6 
8.5 
13.2 
18.2 

56.5 
25.1 
15.8 
16.6 

100.0 
11.5 
33.4 
29.3 
18.3 

7.5 
6.6 

o!i 

100.0 
18.1 
67.9 
19.1 
4.2 

0.8 
0.6 
0.2 


100.0 
50.8 
44.1 
3.7 
0.9 

0.4 
0.3 
0.1 
(Z) 

100.0 
6.9 
18.9 
23.8 
21.8 

28.5 
14.7 
10.6 
3.2 

100.0 
26.9 
51.6 
16.2 

1.0 
0.9 
0.1 


100.0 

4&8 
5.5 
1.7 

o!i 

100.0 

is! 5 
21.5 
21.4 

34.8 

19.1 

100.0 
49! 1 

7^1 

2.2 
2.0 
0.2 
(Z) 

100.0 
37.8 
54.3 

1.0 

0.3 
0.2 

(Z) 


100.0 




36.8 




30.2 




10.4 




7.5 








6.6 




5.0 




3.5 




100.0 








3.9 








8.8 




77.9 








30.0 




29.0 




100.0 




12.5 




17.1 




19.2 




23.1 




28.2 




20.5 




7.6 








100.0 
56.1 
37.7 
4.8 
1.2 

0.2 
0.2 
(Z) 


100.0 
42.2 

52.8 

0^6 
6.1 


100.0 




20.9 




35.2 




20.2 












3.7 














29^9 
64.0 

0.3 

(Z) 

(Z) 


100.0 
21.4 
74.6 
3.7 
0.2 

(Z) 
(Z) 
(Z) 


100.0 

20! 

3.8 

0.9 
0.4 
0.5 


100.0 
51.1 
46.0 

6.3 

(Z) 
(Z) 
(Z) 


100. 

0^4 

0.2 
0.2 

(Z) 

(Z) 

100.0 
76.4 
22.7 
0.7 
0.1 

(Z) 


100.0 
28.8 
64.6 
5.5 
1.0 

0.2 
0.1 
0.1 


5£7 

45.9 

0^1 

(Z) 
(Z) 


100. 
43.7 

(Z) 
(Z) 










































100.0 
64.1 
34.6 
1.0 
0.2 

(Z) 
(Z) 
(Z) 


100.0 
44.5 
55.0 
0.5 

(Z) 

(Z) 
(Z) 


100.0 

63^3 

0.7 
0.1 

(Z) 
(Z) 


100.0 
35.2 
57.9 
5.7 
1.2 


100.0 
26.2 
65.8 
6.2 
1.6 

0.3 
0.3 


100.0 
62.6 
36.6 
0.7 
0.1 

(Z) 
(Z) 


100.0 
43.0 
64.8 
1.8 
0.3 

0.1 
0.1 

(Z) 


100.0 
61.6 
37.9 
0.4 
0.1 


100.0 

47^4 

0.9 
0.2 

<Z) 
(Z) 


100.0 








40.7 








1.1 


















(Z) 


























100.0 
74.2 
25.1 
0.6 
0.2 

(Z) 


100.0 
58.6 
41.3 
0.1 

(Z) 

(Z) 


100.0 
57.8 
42.0 
0.2 

(Z) 

(Z) 
(Z) 


100.0 
57.6 
40.3 
1.7 
0.5 


100.0 
48.2 
47.7 
2.5 
1.4 

0.1 


100.0 
77.3 
22.6 
0.2 

(Z) 


100.0 
84.6 
14.9 
0.3 
0.1 

(Z) 
(Z) 


100.0 
65.6 
33.8 
0.3 
0.2 


100.0 
74.8 
24.9 
0.3 


100.0 
66.7 
32.9 
0.3 
0.1 


1OO.0 








































(Z) 


(Z) 




0.1 



























































Z 0.05 percent or less. 



34 



Table 23. — Class of Work Power: Percentage Distribution of Farms 

United States: 1954 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 

Type and by Specified Economic Classes, for the 





Total 


Economic class of 
farm 


Percentage distribution by type of farm 


Total 


Economic class of 
farm 




1 


II, III, 

and IV 


Vand 
VI 


I 


II, III, 

and IV 


Vand 
VI 




100.0 
14.9 
14.0 
25.8 
45.3 

100.0 
6.3 
2.0 
22.0 
69.7 

100.0 
29.3 
29.1 
15.9 
25.7 

100. 

32^8 
26.1 
17.8 

100.0 
14.0 
11.2 
19.7 

55.1 

100.0 
28.8 
5.5 
10.5 
55.1 

100.0 
6.5 
8.1 
29.4 
55.9 


100.0 
6.9 
2.3 

54] 5 

100.0 
1.5 
0.4 
37.9 
60.1 

100.0 
1.7 
0.4 
37.1 
60.8 

100.0 
1.8 
1.5 

M. 6 

100.0 
2.8 
1.0 
24.2 
72.0 

100.0 
9.8 
0.7 
17.1 
72.4 

100.0 
6.8 
2.0 
39.2 
52.1 


100.0 
9.1 
6.3 
29.5 
55.1 

100.0 
3.9 

0.8 
22.5 
72.8 

100.0 
22.4 
12.7 
22.4 
42.5 

100.0 
17.6 
23.7 
35.2 
23.5 

100.0 
8.4 
4.6 
22.2 
64.8 

100.0 
27.1 
3.2 
10.3 
59.4 

100.0 
3.1 
3.8 
31.7 
61.4 


100. 
25.1 
27.6 
18.7 

100.0 
15.6 
6.3 
17.4 
60.7 

100.0 
34.7 
40.1 
11.0 
14. 1 

100.0 
29.4 
42.4 
17.2 

100.0 
24.2 
22.2 
15.2 

38.3 

100.0 
41.4 

12.7 
7.9 
38.0 

100.0 
15.1 
19.7 
23.0 
42.2 


Poultry 


100.0 
41.9 
11.2 
11.0 
35.8 

100.0 
8.8 
10.7 

44! 6 

100.0 
10.9 
13.2 
29.5 
46.4 

100.0 

9' 2 

28.8 
56.0 

100.0 
3.6 
7.8 
33.7 
54.9 

100.0 
37.9 
14.9 
18.3 
28.9 


100.0 
30.5 
4.3 
16.3 
48.9 

100.0 
2.3 
4.4 
49.0 
44.3 

100.0 
2.0 

0.4 
38.0 

100.0 
2.5 
0.3 
34.3 
62.8 

100.0 
1.1 
0.8 
46.0 
52.1 

100.0 
35.2 
2.2 
17.9 
44.8 


100.0 
38.5 
10.2 
12.3 
39.0 

100.0 
4.1 
4.8 
38.9 
52.2 

100.0 
6.4 
6.8 
34.6 
62.2 

100.0 
2.7 
4.3 
29.6 
63.4 

100.0 
2.2 
2.5 
34.4 
60.9 

100.0 
39.3 
9.3 
19.9 
31.5 












No tractor, and 1 or more liaises and/or mules 
































No tractor, and 1 or more horses and/or mules 




































No tractor, and 1 or more leases and/or mules 




















No tractor, and ] or moio horses and/or mules 












No tractor, and 1 it mure horses and or mules 


19.6 








No tractor, and 1 or nunc horses :tn<l/or mules 


















No tractor, and 1 or more horses and/or mules 




































No tractor, and 1 or more horses and 'or mules 

























Class of Work Power 

Some indication of the level of mechanization practiced by 
types and economic classes of farms may be gained from data on 
class of work power. Tractors are more common to some parts 
of commercial agriculture than others and there remains con- 
siderable difference in the extent to which they now constitute 
the sole source of power. 

"Horseless farming" is much more a reality on cash-grain 
farms than most other types (see table 23). Three-fifths of even 
the smaller economic classes of farms reported a tractor and no 
horses or mules. 

In general, Class I farms of each type are highly dependent 
on tractors as the only source of power. The same is true for 
Classes II through IV for several types; namely, cash-grain, 
vegetable, fruit-and-nut, dairy, and general farms. 

Many of the smaller economic classes of farms had neither 
tractors nor work stock. This was most common on fruit-and-nut 
farms and poultry farms. It was also common on cotton and 
other field-crop farms, largely influenced by the fairly high pro- 



portion of cropper operators included in the smaller economic 
classes. 

For several types of farms, cash-grain, dairy, other livestock, 
general livestock, and general crop and livestock farms, a higher 
proportion of the farms in Classes II through IV than in Class I 
reported tractors and no work stock. 

Land in Farms 

Of the total land area in the United States, encompassing about 
3 million square miles, 60.8 percent is in farms. In 1954, the 
land in farms totaled 1,158 million acres of which 1,032.5 million 
acres, or 89 percent, was in commercial farms. 

Nearly half of the land in commercial farms was in livestock 
farms and about a fifth was in cash-grain farms (see table 24). 
These two types, which comprise 37 percent of the commercial 
farm numbers, accounted for more than two-thirds of the land 
in commercial farms in 1954. If general livestock and general 
crop and livestock farms are included, the proportion of the land 
in farms of the livestock and cash-grain types exceeds three-fourths 
of the land in all commercial farms. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



35 



Table 24. — Percent Distribution of Total Land for Each 
Economic Class, by Type of Farm, for the United States: 
1954 



Typo of farm 


Total 


Economic class of farm 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




100.0 
19.8 
6.3 
3.3 
0.5 

0.9 
9.4 
1.2 

49.2 

LI 
5.2 
1.0 


100.0 
12.7 
6.0 
1.4 
0.9 

1.9 
2.3 
0.8 

69.6 

1.7 
0.2 
1.5 
1.0 


100.0 
25.6 

L5 
0.3 

0.8 
8.5 
1.1 

50.1 

1.9 
0.7 
4.6 
0.9 


100.0 
26.4 
4.2 
2.7 
0.2 

0.5 
13.4 
1.0 

39.8 

2.0 

1.5 
7.5 
0.7 


100.0 
20.6 

7.1 
5.5 
0.3 

0.0 
14.4 
1.2 

36.6 

2.4 
2.0 
8.5 


100.0 
13.6 
11.6 
7.5 

0.7 
12.7 
1.6 

39.1 

3.0 

2.0 
6.6 
1.4 


1 > 




9.0 




16.3 




8 ',' 




0.7 


Fruit-and-nut 


0.7 

10.4 




3.1 


Livestock other than dairy and poul- 


41.2 


General: 


S 




l.G 








1.7 








The distribution of land in farms is affected by the different 
land requirements for farms in different parts of the country. 
Many of the livestock and cash-grain farms are in western regions 
where, because of limited rainfall, the yields of crops and pastures 
are low, and considerable acreages are required to provide an 
efficient farm organization. On many western livestock farms 
20 or more acres are required to furnish pasture for one animal 
unit. In much of the western plains, wheat can be grown only 
in alternate years. Part of the land is "fallowed" each year to 
accumulate enough moisture for the next year's crop. 

Although less than 10 percent of the livestock farms are in the 
West, these comprise 40 percent of the land in all livestock farms. 
The western region contains only about a tenth of the total 
number of cash-grain farms, but a fifth of the land in such farms 
is in the western region. Similarly, the average acreage of live- 
stock farms in the West is several times the acreages in northern 
and southern regions. Cash-grain farms in the West average 
more than twice as large as those in other regions. 

Of the 1,032 million acres of land in commercial farms in 1954, 
25 percent was in Class I farms, about 60 percent in Classes II, 
III, and IV, and slightly less than 15 percent in Class V and VI 
farms (see table 25). But among types of farms, the proportion 
of the commercial farmland by economic class varies considerably. 
Among cash-grain farms, other field-crop farms, dairy farms, 
general livestock, and general crop and livestock farms, a relatively 
small proportion of the farmland is contained in Class I farms. 
On the other hand, about half of the acreage in vegetable and 
fruit-and-nut farms falls in Class I and more than a third of the 
land in livestock farms. 

Of all land in Class I farms more than two-thirds is in livestock 
farms. Cash-grain farms contain about 13 percent and cotton 
farms 6 percent of the acreage in all Class I farms. No other type 
accounts for as much as 3 percent of the acreage in Class I farms. 

Nationally, two-thirds of the commercial farms and three-fifths 
of the land in commercial farms are in Economic Classes II, III, 
and IV. A much higher proportion of the acreage, around three- 
fourths, is found in these classes on cash-grain, dairy, general 
livestock and general crop and livestock farms. In contrast, less 
than half the acreage is found in these classes on cotton, other 
field-crop, vegetable, and fruit-and-nut farms. 



The land contained in Economic Classes V and VI ranged from 
a high of one-third of the land in cotton farms to a low of 9 percent 
for cash-grain farms. 



Table 25. — Percent Distribution of Total Land in Farms 
for Each Type of Commercial Farm, by Economic Class, 
for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


ni 


IV 


V 


VI 




100.0 

1110 II 

loo.o 

100.0 
100.0 

100.0 
100.0 

1 

100.0 

100.0 
100.0 
100.0 
100.0 


25.2 
16.1 
24.1 
11.1 
50.0 

49.4 
6.1 
17.8 
35.6 

20.2 
4.0 
7.3 

26.0 


23.4 
30.2 
14.8 
10.8 
13.1 

18.9 
21.1 
22.6 
23.8 

20.9 
15.5 
20.8 
21.8 


21.4 

28.6 
14.2 
17.5 
10.5 

12.1 
30.5 
18.9 
17.3 

20.3 
28.5 

:;o i, 
14.9 


15.8 
16.4 
17.7 
26.8 
10.4 

9.3 
24.1 
15.7 
11.8 

17.9 

28.7 
25.6 
15.8 


9.9 
6.8 
18.3 
22.8 
9.1 

7.0 
13.4 

13.4 
7.9 

14.4 
17.3 
12.4 
14.0 


4 4 








11.1 






Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 


7.0 

3.3 






Livestock uttier than dairy and poultry. 

General: 

Primarily crop... --- 

Primarily livestock 


3.6 

6.3 
6.0 
3.4 











Table 26 shows the average acreage per farm for types of farms 
by economic class. These averages disclose the wide range in 
acreage found within each economic class of farm and the variation 
by type of farm. Within each type there is a correlation between 
size measured in acres and size measured by value of farm products 
sold. A decrease in average acreage is associated with a decrease 
in value of products sold for each type of farm. This relation of 
acreage to value, by type of farm, indicates that the classification 
by value of products sold provides a fairly good measure of 
size when dealing with different types of farms under widely 
different production conditions. 



Table 26. — Average Size of Farm For Each Type of Com- 
mercial Farm, by Economic Class, for the United States: 
1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial farms 


310.3 

3S0. 1 
124.4 
91.6 
146.6 

119.3 
177.2 
78.1 

730.7 

i-'.i n 
264.7 
278.0 


1,939.1 

1,494.7 

1.031.6 

667. 5 

453.6 
508.4 
162.9 

4,539.0 

1,147.3 

773.1 

1,190.7 

597.1 


537. 8 

558. 9 
376 
236 5 
139.3 

120.6 

260 8 
94.9 

996.5 

452.3 

240. 
391.9 
385.1 


311.9 

363. 5 

106 7 

98! 1 

72.6 

ISO, 4 
79.7 

576.0 

303.6 
200.7 
202 (J 
276.5 


201.0 

260. 1 
99.3 
79.0 
78.0 

53.8 

152.5 

417.7 

190.5 
177.9 
234.1 
228.6 


134.3 
167. 9 
63.8 
65.7 
66.9 

43.0 
126.3 
55.9 

291.3 

147.0 
145.1 
161. 1 
172.1 


97.1 
121.8 




54.1 




64.5 




52.4 


1'nnt-and-nut 


46.8 
97.8 




51.3 


Livi-tork oilier than dairy 
and poultry 

General: 


183.6 
128.6 




106.3 




121.6 




136.8 







36 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



The average acreage per farm, however, tends to conceal the 
extreme variations in acreage that exist within each economic 
class. Table 27 shows the frequency distribution of the number 
of farms grouped by acreage size for each type of farm by economic 
class. Although the average acreage of land for Class I farms was 
more than 1,000 acres for cash-grain, cotton, livestock, general 
crop, and general crop and livestock farms, most of the farms are 
considerably smaller. More than half of the Class I farms in 
each of these types have from 220 to 999 acres. A majority of 
Class I vegetable and fruit-and-nut farms have less than 220 
acres, and more than half of the Class I poultry farms have less 
than 100 acres. Half of the Class I farms of under 10 acres were 
poultry farms in 1954. Nearly half of the Class I farms of 1,000 
or more acres were livestock farms and almost a third were cash- 
grain farms. 

Among farms in the median range in value of products sold 
(Classes II, III, and IV), certain acreage-size groups tend to pre- 
dominate. Most of the cash-grain, livestock, and general farms 
in Classes II, III, and IV, are in the groups between 100 and 500 



acres. Cotton and other field-crop farms are heavily concentrated 
in the acreage-size groups between 10 and 220 acres. Over half 
of the dairy farms fall in the size group between 100 and 220 acres, 
while a majority of poultry and fruit-and-nut farms have less than 
50 acres. 

A higher proportion of Economic Classes V and VI are in the 
smaller acreage groups for each type of farm. However, the 
relationship between acreage and value of sales is not so direct as 
might be expected. For each type of farm, except cash-grain 
farms, the modal acreage-size group (the one containing the largest 
number of farms) is the same for Class V and VI farms as for 
Classes II, III, and IV. This indicates the wide variation in the 
quality of land and the proportion that is suitable for growing 
crops and grasses even among farms of basically the same type of 
farming. It is also related to differences in the extent to which 
these groups of farmers have taken advantage of new techniques 
that are aimed to increase yields per crop acre and per animal 
unit. 



Table 27.— Number of Farms in Specified Acreage-Size Groups for Each Type of Commerical Farm by Economic Ci 

United States: 1954 



Number of farms by type 



Kcunnloie class Oct acreage si/. 



other 
field- 
crop 



Live- 
stock 
other 

dairy or 

poultry 



Primarily Pl j'™' ily V '"'. '„ : " ul 
cr °P stock stock 



All classes. 

Under 10 acres 

10 to 49 acres 

50 to 99 acres 



3, 327, 
145. 400 

022. 021 



525,403 
20. 10-1 
230, 11'. 

(i i r., ;)'.)'. 



307.7.;.: 
31.721 

143,547 
1.10,270 



37,057 
11,200 
li, 837 
4,184 



100 to 219 acres.. 
220 to 499 acres.. 
500 to 999 acres. 



Class I... 

Under lo acres 
10 to 49 acres. 
50 to 99 acres . 



44, 144 
13,120 

6, 895 



13, 137 

2, 102 

3. 202 
2,010 



2,805 
3,784 



1,01)0 acres and over. 



100 to 219 acres. 
220 to 499 acres. 
600 to 999 acres. 
1,000 acres and 



Classes V and VI. 
Under 10 acre: 
10 to 49 acres. 
50 to 99 acres . 



19. 127 
40, 1110 
21.MI7 



41, 451 

225, 573 
270,510 



133. O00 
153,251 
53, 704 



5. 5V.I 
4,503 
3, 570 



50, 310 
2\ S03 

7,479 
2,144 



1 5, 05S 

710 

6,891 

3, 7S5 



48, 573 
1,000 

21'., 075 
9, 131 



22. Ms 
6,515 

11.005 
2,871 



5S0.270 
1,104 
15, 474 

07,001 



84.741 

20,330 
21,501 
17, '240 



61, 701 

IS. 3H0 
11,520 



18.4S3 
0, 04!'. 
3,265 
1,536 



14,003 
2,000 
2, 382 
2,271 



loo to 210 acres 

220 t.. too acres 

500 to 009 acres 

1,000 acres and over.. 



70, 100 
44, 701 
11, 400 

8, 273 



A GENERAL VIEW 



37 



Cropland Harvested 

About 322 million acres were in harvested crops in 1954. This 
was slightly less than a third of the total land in farms. The 
proportion of the land that was in harvested crops varied among 
types of farms and between economic classes within each type 
(see table 28). Approximately half or more of the total land was 
in harvested crops on cash-grain, cotton, vegetable, and general 
farms. Between a third and two-fifths of the land in other field- 
crop, fruit-and-nut, and dairy farms, was harvested cropland — 
only a fourth of the land in poultry farms and 15 percent of the 
land in livestock farms. 



Table 28. — Cropland Harvested As A Percent of Total 
Land in Farms for Each type of Farm, by Economic Class 
of Farm, for the United States: 1954 



Type of farm 


Total 


Economic class of farm 


I 


n 


in 


IV 


V 


VI 




31.1 
54.5 
50.6 
36.3 
46.9 

37.0 
38.1 
26.0 

15.4 

41.6 
46.8 
47.0 
8.2 


18.8 
47.5 
54.3 
49 1 
51.4 

36.2 

:;■_■ i] 
30.6 

7.5 

46.7 
31.0 
35.6 

in ■_' 


35.8 
57.8 

57.1 
48.1 
54.5 

41.9 
42.7 
28.7 

19.4 

47.6 
58.4 
53.4 
7.1 


40.0 
58.2 
54.7 
40.6 
47.3 

41.5 
42.2 
26.8 

23.3 

42.2 

M .', 

7! 4 


54.1 
52.4 
36.4 
39.5 

35.4 
37.9 
25.6 

20.5 

40.6 
46.3 
45.9 
7.8 


28.7 
47.2 
45.8 
28.5 
33.5 

30.6 
30.2 
22.7 

15.4 

33.8 
35.7 
36.7 
7.7 




















Fruit-and-nut 


23.2 






Livestock other than dairy and 




General: 





















For most types of farms the larger farms and the smaller farms 
have less of the land in harvested crops. This results in a slightly 
higher proportion of the cropland than of the total land being 
found among the medium-sized Classes II, III, and IV farms. 
Four-fifths or more of the cropland is accounted for by these 
classes for cash-grain, dairy, general livestock, and general crop 
and livestock farms (see table 29). Half or more of the cropland 
is found on Classes II, III, and IV farms for each of the other 
types, with the exception of vegetable and fruit-and-nut farms. 
For these two types, half or more of the cropland is in Class I 
farms. About 70 percent is accounted for by Classes I and II 
together. Economic Classes V and VI account for a smaller 
proportion of the cropland than of the total land in farms for 
each type of farm. 

Cash-grain farms and livestock farms accounted for a third and 
a fourth, respectively, of the harvested cropland (see table 30). 
Cotton farmers and dairy farmers each used about a tenth of the 
cropland. With the exception of general crop and livestock farms 
which accounted for 8 percent of the cropland, no other type 
accounted for as much as 4 percent. Cash-grain farms and live- 
stock farms taken together accounted for more than half of the 
cropland harvested in each Economic Classes I through IV and 
two-fifths of the cropland in Class V and Class VI farms. On 
Class VI farms, however, a higher proportion of the cropland 
was accounted for by cotton farms. 

The average acreage of cropland harvested per farm is largest on 
cash-grain farms and lowest on poultry farms (see table 31). 
Except for cash-grain farms, livestock farms and general crop and 
livestock farms had a larger average acreage in crops harvested 
than any of the types that had a major source of income from sales 
of crops. 



Table 29. — Percent Distribution of Total Acreage of 
Cropland Harvested for Each Type of Commercial Farm 
by Economic Class, for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


v 


VI 


All commercial farms 


100.0 
100.0 
100.0 
100.0 
100.0 

100.0 
100.0 
100.0 

100.0 

100.0 

inn n 
100.0 
100.0 


15 2 

un 
2.V * 
15.0 
54.8 

48.3 
5.1 
20.9 

17. 1 

22.6 
2.7 
5.5 

32.2 


26.9 

16.7 

14.3 
15.2 

21.4 

:•:;. 7 
24.8 

29.9 

23 9 

19.3 
23.6 
19.0 


27.4 
30.4 
16.3 

in. i; 

10.6 

13.6 
33.8 

19.5 

26.1 

20.6 

:;;; 2 
34.3 
13.4 


18.4 
10.3 
18.3 
26.8 
8.8 

8.9 
24.0 
15.5 

15.6 

17.5 
28.4 
25.0 
15.0 


9.1 
5.9 
16.5 
17.9 

6.5 

6.7 
10.6 
11.7 

7.9 

11.7 
13.2 
9.7 
13.2 


3.0 




7.4 










1 r.iit and 






•>, 8 






Livestock other than dairy and 


3.0 


General: 






3,2 




1.9 











Table 30. — Percent Distribution of Total Acreage of 
Cropland Harvested for Each Economic Class, by Type 
of Farm, for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial farms 


100.0 
34.7 
10.3 
3.8 
0.7 

1.1 
11.5 
1.0 

24.3 

2.8 
1.7 
7.9 
0.3 


loo.o 

31.9 
17.4 
3.8 
2.5 

3.6 

3.9 
1.3 

27.8 

4.1 
0.3 
2.9 
0.6 


100.0 
41.4 
6.4 
2.0 
0.4 

0.9 
10.1 
0.9 

27.1 

2.5 
1.2 
6.9 
0.2 


inn n 
38.6 
5.7 
2.7 
0.3 

0.6 
14.2 
0.7 

23.2 

2.1 
2.0 
9.9 
0.1 


100.0 
30.7 
10.2 
5.5 
0.3 

0.5 
15.0 
0.8 

20.7 

2.6 
2.6 

10.7 
0.2 


100.0 

22.3 
18.6 
7.6 
0.5 

0.7 
13.4 
1.2 

21.0 

3.6 
2.4 
8.4 
0.4 


100.0 
15.6 








8.(1 




1.0 




8 




10.8 




2.5 


Livestock other than dairy and poul- 


24.5 


General: 


3 5 








5.1 




0.6 







Table 31. — Average Acreage of Cropland Harvested per 
Farm for Each Type of Commercial Farm, by Economic 
Class, for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


rv 


V 


VI 




102 
207 

33 

69 

44 
67 
20 

113 

112 
86 
124 

23 


398 
710 
560 
329 
327 

164 
163 
60 

341 

536 
246 
426 
61 


201 
323 
215 

76 

61 
115 
27 

193 

215 
146 
209 
27 


129 
211 

ION 

50 
46 

21 
134 

128 
110 
154 

20 


76 
141 
52 
29 
31 

19 
58 
18 

86 

77 

107 

18 


41 
79 
29 
19 
22 

13 
38 
13 

45 

50 
52 
59 
13 










18 








15 




11 










Livestock other than dairy and poul- 
try 

General: 

Primarily crop.. 

Primarily livestock 


23 

31 

26 




II 







38 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Value of Land and Buildings 

Differences in the land — its quality, productiveness, and loca- 
tion, the proportion suitable for crops, and the improvements made 
to the land — are reflected in the average values per acre. Table 32 
shows the average value of land and buildings per acre for each 
type of farm by economic class. The liighest value per acre for 
any type of farm is for fruit-and-nut farms. This is true when 
comparison is made within each economic class. Relatively high 
values per acre are also shown for vegetable farms and poultry 
farms. 



Table 32. — Average Value per Acre of Land and Buildings 
for Each Type of Commercial Farm, by Economic Class, 
for the United States: 1954 



All commercial farms. 

Cash-grain 

Cotton... 

Other field-crop 

Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy 

Poultry 

Livestock other than dairy 
poultry 

General: 

Primarily crop 

Primarily livestock 

Crop and livestock 

Miscellaneous 



!:<•_'. 2S 
105.34 
174. T2 



n:i ■■:, 
in; :.v 
96.58 

I I 2 lis 



Kcononiic class of farm 



73.30 
108.96 
175. 10 

r-u mi 

2V9. 05 

:«2. 21 
194.23 
210.45 



17:;. v.i 
122.12 
117.54 

171.21 



-.11 111 
134.52 

i:u '.i7 



I'.i:, iv 
107. 26 
167. 77 



84.46 
73.54 
88.76 
176. 61 

412 71 
70.93 

li'.l 79 



2i;o r,r, 

61.60 

118.95 
51.23 



On fruit-and-nut farms the land value reflects the substantial 
investment in orchards, vineyards, and planted nut trees. Both 
fruit-and-nut and vegetable farms are highly specialized types 
which require fairly exacting soil and climatic conditions. Many 
are in areas that have access to irrigation and irrigation facilities. 
Water rights tend to be reflected in land values. Many vegetable 
farms are in low-lying tracts that have been reclaimed and drained 
at considerable expense per acre. Poultry farms reflect the large 
investment in buildings, to house and care for laying hens and 
broilers, associated with a relatively small acreage. 

The lowest values per acre are found on livestock farms. These 
values are influenced by the large number of cattle ranches in 
semiarid western regions which have large acreages with a low 
carrying capacity per animal unit. 

Values per acre tend to decrease with decreasing size as measured 
by gross sales. The exception is noticeable among Class I farms. 
For about half of the types, the values per acre on Class II farms 
exceed those on Class I farms. 

The distribution of the value of land and buildings among types 
of farms is more nearly equal than the distribution by economic 
class, for there is a tendency for types of farms with smaller 
acreage requirements to have land of higher value (see table 33). 
But within each type of farm a greater concentration of value 
than of acreage is shown for the larger economic classes. 

The average value of land and buildings per commercial farm 
was greatest on cash-grain and fruit-and-nut farms and lowest on 
cotton, other field-crop, and poultry farms (see table 34). On 
each type of farm the average value of land and buildings per farm 
increases directly with increasing size of farm as measured by gross 
sales. The range of value is from less than $10,000 per farm on 
Class VI farms to more than $100,000 per farm on Class I farms. 
But among farms in each economic class there are considerable 
differences in value. 



Table 33. — Percent Distribution of Value of Land and Buildings by Type 
Farms, for the United States: 1954 



^nd Economic Class of Commercial 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Percent distribution in each type of farm by economic class: 


100.0 

100.0 
100.0 
100.0 
100.0 

100.0 

ioo.o 

100.0 
100.0 

100.0 
100.0 
100.0 
100.0 

100.0 

23.3 
8.0 

4.5 
1.3 

4.2 
13.2 

2.5 
31.1 

2.7 

6^3 
1.2 


22.2 
17.1 
37.1 
lfi.8 
54.6 

45.0 
11.2 
21.5 
24.2 

30.7 
4.5 
8.9 

38.6 

100.0 
18.0 
13.3 
3.4 

9.0 
6.5 
2.5 
35.1 

3.7 
0.3 
2.5 
2.2 


27.4 
34.8 
18.0 
14.0 
16.4 

22.4 
26.8 
25.2 
28.5 

23.5 
22.1 

22! 7 

100.0 
29.4 
5.2 
2.4 
0.8 

3.5 
12.9 

2.3 
32.6 

2.3 
1.3 
6.3 
1.0 


23, 2 

27.6 

IO 
10.9 

19.9 
30.8 
18.2 
21.0 

17.3 
33.1 
31.6 
13.2 

100.0 
27.6 
4.6 
3.8 
0.6 

2.5 
17.4 

1.8 
28.1 

2.0 
2.2 

8.6 
0.7 


16.1 
13.4 
13.9 
25.7 

9.6 

14.3 

13.5 

13.9 
24.1 
20.4 
11.1 

100.0 
20.9 

0^8 

2.6 
16.9 
2.2 
7.3 

2.5 
2.6 
8.5 
0.9 


8.8 
5.6 
11.9 
17.1 
6.1 

7.1 
8.9 
12.7 
8.9 

10.8 
12.4 
9.1 
10.3 

100.0 
15.0 
11.6 
8.6 
0.9 

3.3 
13.3 

3.4 
30.6 

3.3 
2.1 

6.5 
1.4 


3.3 












6.6 




3.6 




2.0 




2.8 




8.0 




3.8 


General: 

Primarily crop 

Primarily livestock 

Crop and livestock 

Miscellaneous 

Percent distribntion in each economic class of farm by type: 

All commercial farms 

Cash-grain 

Cotton 

Other field-crop 

Vegetablo 

Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy 

Poultry 

Livestock other than dairy and poultry 

General: 

Primarilv crop _ 

Primarily livestock 

Crop and livestock 

Miscellaneous 


3.7 
3.8 
2.1 
4.1 

100.0 
10.3 
14.5 

8.9 
1.5 

2.6 
10.9 

5.7 
35.2 

3.0 
1.7 
4.1 
1.6 



A GENERAL VIEW 



39 



-Average Value of Investment in Land and Buildings, Livestock Inventory, Machinery, and Total Invest' 
ment for Each Type of Commercial Farm, by Economic Class, for the United States: 1954 



and type, of farm 



nd buildings per farm: 

commercial farms 

< 'asli-cnnu 

Cotton 

Other iii'ld-CTOp 

Vegetable 



Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy 

Poultry 

Livestock other than dairy and poult r 



General: 

Primarily erop 

Primarily livestock. 

Crop and livestock., 
M isoellai is 



All commercial I 

Cash-grain. 

Cotton 

Other field-crop.. 
Vegetable 



Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy 

Poultry... 

Livestock other than dairy and poultry. 



General: 

Primarily crop 

Primarily hvestoek 
Crop and livestock. 



Miscellaneous . 



All commercial (arms. 

Cash-grain. 

Cotton... 

Other field-crop. 
Vegetable 



Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy 

Poultry 

Livestock other than dairy and poultr. 



Primarily crop 

Primarily livestock. 

Crop and livestock . 

Miscellaneous 

Total investment per farm : 

All commercial farms 

Cash-grain. 

Cotton. 

Other field-crop 

Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 

Dairy. 

Poultry 

Livestock other tha 



dairy and poultry. 



General: 

Primarily crop 

Primardy livestock 
Crop and livestock . 

Miscellaneous 



Total investment per farm: 

All commercial farms 

Cash-grain. 

Cotton , 

Other field-crop 

Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut 

Poultr"7-l---- ------------------ ----- 

Livestock other than dairy and poultry 

General: 

Primarily crop 

Primarily livestock 

Crop and livestock 

Miscellaneous 



Kcooomic class of faun 



.1* I 







Average value (d 


ollars) 




28, 429 

III.IM 
12,970 
10,44(1 
38,327 


134, 169 

163,664 
171,142 
109,421 
192, 184 


51,510 
67, 673 
49,386 
34,934 


27,992 
37, 193 
20. 700 
16,071 
25,699 


15,880 
22, 397 
8,593 
8,788 
16,490 


9,829 
14,402 
4,570 
5,727 
11,334 


46,252 
is, .Mil 

3C.!::ii3 


162,497 
9ft, 312 
33,754 

142,449 


66, 059 
35, 751 
18,041 
58, 179 


33,462 
20, 122 
13, 091 
34, 774 


23,021 

12.960 

111, Mill 

23,895 


18,071 
8,977 
9,347 

16,541 


29,25)6 

1!'. Mil'. 
25, 499 
28, 033 


84! 375 
128,384 
85,411 


55,169 
39,913 
50,626 
40,345 


28,682 
24,669 
29,421 
25,416 


15,998 
15,944 
18,109 
17,038 


12,280 

1L440 
13,624 


3,154 

2, 279 

844 

761 

871 


15,021 
6,421 
5,074 
3,918 
3,054 


5, 986 
3,606 
2,031 
2,269 
850 


3,697 
2,479 
1,264 
1,206 
737 


2,178 

1,559 

795 

685 

589 


1,327 

851 
551 
527 
491 


697 
3, 434 
1,537 
7,520 


2,560 
15,039 

4,068 
35,327 


740 
6, 034 
2,261 
11,544 


450 
3,872 
1,551 
7,197 


321 
2,634 
1,197 


248 
1,801 

877 
3,162 


1,741 
3,451 
3, 496 
1,207 


7,290 
13, 502 
15, 726 

2,376 


3. 312 
6,320 
6, 124 

1,537 


2.094 
4.374 
4,101 
1,280 


1,307 
3,029 

l! 125 


790 
2,058 
1,760 

808 


4,291 

6, 393 
2, 091 
1,991 
0,016 


15,649 
19,323 
18,768 
19,337 
24,260 


8,444 
9,738 
7,231 
7,461 
8,036 


5,304 

3J488 
3,039 
4,711 


3, 232 
4,588 
1,679 
1,655 
3,289 


L025 
1,144 
2,309 


4,641 

4,528 
2. 4111'. 
6,338 


14,433 
15,302 
6,394 
14,058 


6,871 
8,635 
3,502 
8,937 


3,544 
6,150 
2,519 
6,062 


3,' 481 
1,992 
4,180 


1,955 
2,421 
1,625 
2,829 


4,835 

4,336 
ft, 136 
3, 94(1 


22, 092 
15,203 
19, 745 
11,381 


9,442 
8,385 

9,098 
5, 491 


5, 410 
ft, 666 
6,056 
3,615 


3,209 
3,644 

4,168 
2,808 


2,280 

2,535 
2,671 
1,915 


32,874 

IS, 736 
15,914 
13,192 
45, 214 


164,839 
189, 408 
194,984 
132, 676 
219,498 


65, 940 
81,017 
58,648 
44,664 
53,708 


36,993 
46,052 
25,452 
20,316 
31, 147 


21,290 
28,544 
11,067 
11,128 
20,368 


13,155 
18,381 
6,146 
7,398 
14, 134 


51, 590 

2i'., 163 
17.923 
49, 221 


179,490 
125,653 
44,216 
191,834 


61,670 

50, 420 
23,804 
78,660 


37,456 
29,144 
17, 161 
48,033 


25,771 
19, 075 
14,079 
32,935 


20,274 
13, 199 
11,849 
22,532 


35, 872 
27. I..S3 
34, 131 
33, 180 


219,573 
111,080 
163,855 
99,168 


S-jUiS 
65,848 
47, 373 


36, 186 
34,709 
39, 578 
30,311 


20, 514 
22, 617 
25,049 
20,971 


15,360 

15,982 
15,877 
16,347 



lYio.'iti il^tribtition 



40 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Value of Livestock 

The value of livestock on farms was ascertained by multiplying 
the numbers of each kind of livestock and poultry by the average 
values per head. Except for regional differentials in values per 
head, the computed values assume equal value per head among 
livestock and poultry for each type and class of farm. 

The value of livestock per farm is much greater on those types 
with a major source of income from sales of livestock and livestock 
products. Livestock were valued at more than $7,000 on other 
livestock farms and at more than $3,000 on dairy, general livestock, 
and general crop and livestock farms. A relatively small invest- 
ment in livestock is shown for types of farms that have a major 
source of sales from crops. 

Estimated Value of Machinery 

To give a more complete picture of the total investment on 
farms, the value of machinery was estimated for each type and 
economic class. The total value of machinery and equipment on 
farms for the United States (as estimated by the Agricultural 
Marketing Service and the Agricultural Research Service, U. S. 
Department of Agriculture) was used as an overall guide. The 
U. S. Department of Agriculture estimated the value of machinery 
and equipment on farms at $15.9 billion in 1954, of which $3.7 
billion was in automobiles, $1.9 billion in motortrucks, $3.2 billion 
in tractors, and $7.2 billion in other machinery and equipment. 
This value was distributed among types and economic classes of 
farms on the basis of numbers of automobiles, trucks, tractors, 
and other specified items of machinery reported by the 1954 
Census of Agriculture. 

Each item of farm equipment reported by the Census was as- 
signed a weighting factor equivalent to its average new retail price. 
These factors were adjusted to reflect differences in age of machines 
on the basis of age differentials reported for automobiles, trucks, 
and tractors, by economic class in the Census of 1950. The ad- 
justment made for age of machine is shown below. The age 
differential for tractors was applied to the weighting factor for 
each item of tractor equipment. 



Economic class 


Automobiles 


Trucks 


Tractors 




(Index, commercial farms= 100) 




100 
156 
140 
117 
93 
77 
61 
82 


100 
136 
119 
99 
94 
92 
84 
98 





































Department of Agriculture that relates size of tractor in belt horse- 
power to acreage size of farm. 3 The weighting factor for each 
item except automobiles was adjusted by the index that is shown 
below. 

Index of 
values (all 
Acreage size farms=100) 



The factors were then adjusted to further reflect a size of ma- 
chine differential for each type and economic class as related to 
the average acreage in farms. An index of value differentials by 
acreage size of farm was computed from a report by the U. S. 



All farms 

Under 100 acres 

100 to 199 acres 

200 to 399 acres 

400 to 599 acres 

600 to 999 acres 

1,000 acres and over. 



100 

85 

92 

100 

104 

108 

112 

The appropriate weighting factors, as adjusted for age and size 
of machine, were multiplied by the number of each specified ma- 
chine. The product was then adjusted to agree with the estimate 
by the U. S. Department of Agriculture of value for the United 
States of automobiles, separately, and of all other machinery and 
equipment. Of the total value of machinery and equipment on 
farms in 1954, it was estimated that $14,280 million (90 percent) 
was on commercial farms. 

The average investment per commercial farm in machinery and 
equipment ranges from less than $2,000 on cotton and other field- 
crop farms to more than $6,000 on cash-grain and vegetable farms. 
By economic class, the range is from $1,000 on Class VI farms to 
more than $15,000 on Class I farms. 

There are even greater differences between economic classes of 
farms for certain types of farms. Class VI cotton and other field- 
crop farms were estimated to have an investment in machinery of 
about $600 compared with nearly $20,000 on Class I farms for 
these types. On the smaller economic classes of cotton and other 
field-crop farms, however, the value of investment in machinery 
and equipment is somewhat incomplete because of the inclusion 
of cropper farms. Croppers are particularly numerous among 
these types. It is customary for most of the machinery used on 
cropper farms to be owned by the landlord and kept on his "home 
farm." For landlords who farm on a commercial scale, their 
home farms are likely to fall in larger economic classes than do 
the individual cropper units. 

The range in machinery value between economic classes of 
poultry farms is much less than among the other types of farms. 
It ranges upward from $1,000 on Class VI farms to $6,000 on Class 
I farms. The items of equipment used for estimating value of 
machinery are basically field-crop equipment. As such, they are 
probably less representative of equipment used on poultry farms 
than of most other types. Values of machinery estimated for 
the larger economic classes of poultry farms are lower than for 
similar classes among other types. This may be affected some- 
what by the procedure for estimating value. But values shown 
do not appear unreasonable in view of the somewhat different 
nature of capital investment on poultry farms. Much of the 
machinery is used as installations in poultry housing and becomes 
incorporated into the value of land and buildings. The same is 
probably true of dairy farms also. 



i Br.i.icll, Albert, aw] Kcii'l.ill, Albert R., Fuel and Motor Oil Consumption and Annuo! Use of Farm Tractors, FM-72, BAE, 1'SDA, 



A GENERAL VIEW 



41 



Total Value of Investment 

Total values of farm investment are always of interest. When 
the investment in land and buildings, livestock, and machinery 
are combined, the total investment per commercial farm was 
nearly $33,000 in 1954. Highest investment per commercial 
farm is shown for cash-grain, fruit-and-nut, and livestock farms, 

Table 35. — Percentage of Total Investment by Source for 
Each Type of Commercial Farm, by Economic Class, for 
the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


ni 


rv 


V 


VI 




100 
78 

13 

100 
82 
5 
13 

100 
83 

5 
12 

100 
80 
6 
15 

100 
85 
2 
13 

100 
91 
1 
8 

100 
70 
13 

100 
77 

14 

100 
74 
15 
11 

100 

5 
13 

100 
72 
12 
16 

100 
75 
10 
16 

100 
86 
3 
11 


100 
9 

100 
86 
3 
10 

100 

2 
9 

100 

84 
3 
14 

100 

1 
12 

100 

91 

7 

100 
76 
12 
12 

inn 
77 

14 

100 
76 
17 

7 

100 
87 
3 
10 

100 

11 
12 

100 
80 
9 

11 

100 

2 
10 


100 
78 
9 
13 

100 
83 
5 
12 

100 
85 
3 
12 

100 

5 
16 

100 

15 

100 

90 

100 
71 
12 
17 

100 
76 

14 

100 
75 
14 
11 

inn 

5 
13 

100 
72 
12 
16 

100 

77 

[-1 

100 

3 
10 


100 
76 

10 
14 

100 
80 
5 
14 

100 
82 

13 

100 

80 
6 
15 

100 
83 
2 
15 

inn 
90 
1 
9 

100 

13 
18 

100 

9 
14 

100 
72 
16 
13 

100 
80 

15 

100 
71 
13 
16 

100 
74 
10 

15 

inn 

4 

11 


100 
76 

in 
15 

100 

78 
6 
16 

100 

78 

15 

100 
79 
6 
15 

100 
81 
3 
16 

100 
90 
1 
9 

100 
68 
14 
18 

inn 
77 
8 
1! 

100 
73 
15 
13 

100 
79 
6 
15 

100 
71 

13 
16 

100 

7_< 
11 
17 

100 

5 
13 


100 

75 
10 
15 

100 

5 
17 

100 
75 
9 
16 

100 

78 
7 
15 

100 

3 
16 

100 
90 
1 

100 
68 
14 
18 

100 
79 

14 

100 
73 
M 
13 

100 
80 
5 
15 

inn 
71 
13 
16 

100 
72 
11 
17 

100 
84 
5 
11 




Value of land ami 1. nil. lings 


76 






















Cotton. 


100 














Value of land and buildings 


80 










Value of land and buildings 


81 






















































Livestock other than dairy and poultry. 


100 


Value of livestock 


15 


















General, primarily livestock 

Value of land and buildings 


100 
73 











































with about $50,000 each. Lowest investment is shown for cotton 
and other field-crop and poultry farms. 

The lower average investment for cotton and other field-crop 
farms results from the relatively large proportion of these types 
that is made up of the smaller economic classes of farms. Much 
greater similarity exists between types of farms in the same 
economic class. For example, Class I cotton farms with a total 
investment of nearly $200,000 per farm are among the highest 
in capital requirements. Among each type of farm, except poultry, 
the total investment on Class I farms was $100,000 or more. 

Capital investment is fairly similar among types of farms 
if comparisons are made by economic class. The notable depar- 
tures from this are the lower capital requirements shown for poultry 
farms and, among the smaller economic classes, the extremely 
low capital investment on cotton and other field-crop farms. It 
is to be remembered that data for these two types are influenced 
by the inclusion of croppers. In general, however, the lower 
capital investment is related to the small acreage in these farms 
and the relatively low land values per acre. 

The total capital investment in commercial farming, as esti- 
mated here, was $110 billion, in 1954. The bulk of this (78 
percent) was represented in the value of land and buildings. 
Livestock and machinery comprised 9 percent and 13 percent, 
respectively, of the total. (See table 35.) 

Land and buildings represented a slightly higher proportion of 
the total investment on farms having a major source of income 
from crops than on farms of the livestock types. 

For each type of farm, land and buildings represented a greater 
proportion of the total investment on the larger economic classes. 
Although total investment was much less on the smaller economic 
classes, more of it was in livestock and machinery. 

The distribution of total investment by economic class and by 
type of farm is shown in table 36. Slightly more than a fifth of 
the total investment is on Class I farms. Although these farms 
produced about one-third of all farm products sold in 1954, in 
terms of numbers, they accounted for only 4 percent of the com- 
mercial farms. On Class I farms, the proportion of the total 
investment for land and buildings was larger than for either live- 
stock or machinery. 

The intermediate economic classes (II, III, and IV) taken 
together accounted for about two-thirds of the total investment. 
They had approximately an equal value of land and buildings and 
livestock and more than 70 percent of the value of machinery. 

Economic Classes V and VI, which comprised a third of the 
farm numbers, accounted for only 13 percent of the total invest- 
ment. A slightly higher proportion of the livestock value and 
machinery value, than of land and buildings, was on these forms. 

Two types of farms, cash-grain and livestock, accounted for 
more than half of the total investment. If the investment on 
dairy farms is added, two-thirds of the total investment was on 
these three types. They accounted for approximately two-thirds 
of the value of land and buildings and machinery and four-fifths 
of the value of livestock. Other livestock farms alone made up 
half of the total livestock investment. 



42 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Table 36. — Percent Distribution of Total Investment by 
Economic Class and by Type of Farm, for the United 
States: 1954 







Value of 


nvestment 




Economic class and type of farm 


Total 


Land and 
buildings 


Livestock 
inventory 


Machinery 
and equip- 
ment 


All commercial farms (million 


110, 545 

100. n 
21.0 
27.1 
23.7 
15.7 

3 4 

100.0 
23.3 
8.0 
4.5 
1.3 

4.2 
13.2 

2.5 

31.1 

2.7 
1.6 
6.3 
1.2 


85, 768 

100.0 
22.2 
27.3 
23.1 
15.1 
8.8 
3.3 

100.0 
24.6 
8.5 

L5 

5.0 
11.9 

2.5 

29.6 

2.9 
1.4 
6.1 
1.4 


10, 497 

100.0 
19.2 
25.6 
24.9 
16.9 
9.7 
3.8 

100.0 
11.7 
4.2 
2.7 
0.3 

0.5 
17.9 
2.3 

49.8 

1.3 
2.1 
6.8 
0.4 




Percent distribution by economic 
class : 




























Percent distribution by type of farm : 
































Livestock other than dairy and 




General: 





















Value of Farm Products Sold 

The total value of farm products sold from commercial farms 
amounted to $24.3 billion in 1954. The distribution of gross 
sales of farm products among types of farms is more equitable 
than that of land resources or the value of investment. For 
example, cash-grain farms, which contained more than a third of 
the harvested cropland, produced only a fifth of the farm products 
sold. Livestock farms, with half the land in farms, produced only 
a fourth of the farm products sold. On the other hand, dairy, 
cotton, and other field-crop farms, and the less numerous highly 
specialized farm types such as vegetable, fruit-and-nut, and 
poultry, accounted for substantially more of the gross sales than 
the amount or value of farm resources. 

By economic class of farm, however, a much greater proportion 
of gross sales than of farm resources is shown for the larger eco- 
nomic classes. Class I farms accounted for nearly three-fourths 
of the gross sales from vegetable farms and two-fifths that from 
fruit-and-nut farms. (See table 37.) About two-fifths of the 
gross sales from cotton, poultry, livestock, and general crop farms 
was from Class I farms. In contrast, more than three-fourths of 
the gross sales from dairy, general livestock, and general crop and 
livestock farms, was sold from the medium-size Classes II, III, 
and IV. 

The average value of farm products sold per commercial farm 
is shown in table 38. The average commercial farm grossed 
slightly more than $7,000 in 1954. This average ranged from 
about $4,000 on other field-crop farms to $16,000 on vegetable 
farms. 



Table 37. — Percent Distribution of Gross Sales for Each 
Type of Farm by Economic Class, for the United States: 
1954 



Type of farm 


Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


n 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




100.0 
100.0 
100.0 
100.0 
100.0 

100.0 
100.0 
100.0 

100.0 

100.0 
100.0 
100. 
100.0 


22.3 
40.8 
20.8 
72.6 

59 3 
16.4 
43.7 

37.8 

42.0 
6.8 
12.3 
65.1 


27.5 
36.4 
15.1 
14.4 
13.2 

20.8 
30.1 
30.2 

30.2 

22.8 
29.7 
31.7 
18.0 


20.9 
26.1 
12.2 
20.7 
6.9 

10.8 
31.0 
14.2 

18.1 

16.1 
34.1 
31.8 
7.7 


12.4 
11.1 
15.2 
26.6 
4.3 

5.9 
16.1 
7.0 

8.7 

11.7 
20.2 

17.1 
5.2 


5.8 
3.5 
12.7 
141 
2.2 


























5.4 
3.7 

4.1 

6.1 
7.6 
6.1 
3.1 








Livestock other than dairy and 




General: 





















Table 38. — Average Value of Farm Products Sold per 
Farm by Type and Economic Class, for the United States: 
1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Value of farm products sold per 
All commercial farms 


Dol- 
lars 

7.:i(i_> 
s, ::ii'. 
1.962 

iiijir,:: 

14,409 

6, 529 
9,634 

8,828 

7,365 

5, 436 

6, 244 
13, 189 


Dollars 
57,997 

i,-i. ;.v2 

69,744 
59, 586 
101,301 

65, 099 
511,130 
49,400 

58, 114 

65,432 

39. 1',f.'.l 
47, 502 
70, 963 


Dol- 
lars 

14.883 
14.77C. 
15. 13) 
14.939 
15,458 

10,083 
14,178 
15,727 

15,246 
13,478 

14.26N 
14.129 
15,117 


Dol- 
lars 
7,178 
7,315 

6, 787 
6,917 
7,037 

7,806 

7. 1199 

7,359 
7,296 

6,579 
7,145 
7,165 
6,845 


Dol- 

3,703 
3. 846 
3,418 
3,716 
3,492 

4,108 
3, 744 
3,808 

3,745 

3,411 

3,714 
3, 689 
3, 536 


Dol- 

1,851 
1,911 
1,765 
1,924 
1,737 

2,041 

1,886, 

1,878 
1,834 

1,708 

1,886 
1,877 
1,830 


Dol- 
756 


Cotton 

Other field-crop. 


769 
806 


Fruit-and-nut 


798 






Livestock oilier than dairy 




General: 




Primardy livestock 

Crop and livestock 


812 

825 







The averages by economic class show the extreme range in size 
of business that characterizes farming in the United States. 
Class I farms are 50 to 100 times as large in business volume as 
Class VI farms. The two extremes would compare Class I vege- 
table farms with gross sales of more than $100,000 and Class VI 
vegetable farms with gross sales of less than $700. 

Since the economic classification (based on the value of farm 
sales) groups farms within fairly narrow intervals of value, a close 
similarity is found in the average sales for each type by economic 
class. The exception is for Class I farms which contain all farms 
with gross sales of $25,000 or more. The effect of the open-end 
value grouping is apparent in the averages for Class I which range 
from less than $40,000 to more than $100,000. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



43 



Gross Sales Per Acre 

The value of farm products sold per acre of total land in farms 
is shown for types and economic classes of farms in table 39. For 
commercial farms as a group, the sales per acre averaged $24 in 
1954. The average for all commercial farms is weighted heavily 
by cash-grain and other livestock farms. Many of these farms 
are located in semiarid western regions where production per acre 
is relatively low. The average sale per acre was $12 for livestock 
farms and $22 for cash-grain farms in 1954. 

Gross sales per acre were highest on vegetable, fruit-and-nut, 
and poultry farms, averaging more than $100 per acre. All other 
types ranged between $25 and $50 per acre. 

Gross sales per acre decreased with decreasing size of farm. 
For commercial farms as a group, Class I farms had sales per acre 
about 4 times greater than Class VI farms. For some types of 
farms, however, the differential between the larger and smaller 
economic classes was much greater. 



Table 39. — Value of All Farm Products Sold per Acre of 
Total Land in Farms, by Type of Commercial Farm by 
Economic Class of Farm, for the United States: 1954 





Total 




Economic class of 


arm 






I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial farms 


Dot- 

24 
22 
40 

47 
110 

121 
37 

12 

27 
30 
24 
47 


Dol. 

30 
31 

68 
89 
159 

145 
99 
303 

51 

40 
119 


Dol- 
lars 
28 
26 

63 
111 

133 
53 
166 

15 

30 
57 
36 
39 


Dol- 
lars 
23 

20 
35 
56 
72 

108 
37 
92 

13 

22 
36 

25 


Dol- 
lars 
18 
15 
34 
47 
45 

76 
25 
55 

9 

18 
Iti 


Dol- 
lars 
14 

28 
29 
26 

47 
15 

12 
13 
12 


Dol- 
lars 
8 


























Livestock other than dairy and 




General: 





















Yield of Corn Per Acre Harvested 

Yields of corn per acre by type and economic class of farm 
substantiate the differentials in gross productivity shown pre- 
viously. Corn is the most widely grown crop in the United 
States. Its acreage surpasses that of any other crop. It is a 
relatively important crop on most types and economic classes of 
farms. Most farmers do not sell corn, except for incidental 
sales; they grow it for feed. Thus, for most types of farms, corn 
has relatively small influence in determining either the type or 
the economic class. Exceptions, of course, are the cash-grain and 
general farms on which corn is an important cash crop. The 
yield of corn in a particular year influences the number of livestock 
purchased, fed, and sold on livestock farms. 

The yield of corn per acre harvested is shown for each type of 
farm, by economic class, in table 40. The average yield for all 
commercial farms was 40 bushels per acre in 1954. As would be 
expected, yields were higher than average on types of farms on 
which corn for feed or for sale was an important enterprise — cash- 
grain, dairy, other livestock, general livestock, and general crop 
and livestock farms. Yields were lowest on cotton, other field- 
crop, and general crop farms. 

On each type of farm, however, yields of corn were highest on 
Economic Class I farms and decreased for each successively 



smaller economic class. Yields on Class VI farms were approxi- 
mately half those realized on Class I farms. 

Table 40. — Yield per Acre of Corn Harvested for Grain, 
by Type of Commercial Farm and by Economic Class of 
Farm, for the United States: 1954 



Type of Farm 


Total 


Economic class of farm 




1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial 


Bushels 
40 

14 
23 
34 

36 

48 
38 

45 

47 
41 
23 


Bushels 
64 
58 
23 
41 
47 

42 

55 
49 

57 

42 
63 
54 
25 


Bushels 
50 

17 
31 
41 

55 
40 

35 

52 
30 


Bushels 
41 
42 

25 
35 

35 
50 

28 
60 
41 
21 


Bushels 
31 
36 
14 
22 
30 

34 

43 
33 

34 

22 
39 
31 
21 


I'.usheh 
24 
32 
12 
21 
23 

20 
33 
31 

28 

20 
33 

20 


Bushels 










other field-crop 


20 














Livestock other than 
dairy and poultry 

General: 
Primarily crop 

Primarily livestock.... 

Crop and livestock 

Miscellaneous 


22 

17 
26 
21 
17 



Gross Sales Per $100 of Capital Investment 

For commercial agriculture as a whole, gross sales averaged 
$22 in 1954 for each $100 of capital invested in land, buildings, 
livestock, and machinery (see table 41). At this rate it takes 
approximately 4 years of gross farm sales to equal in value the 
capital invested in agriculture. 

Table 41. — Value of All Farm Products Sold per $100 of 
Capital Invested in Land and Buildings, Livestock, and 
Machinery, by Type of Commercial Farm by Economic 
Class of Farm, for the United States: 1954 



Type of farm 


Total 


Economic class of farm 




1 


11 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial farms 


Dollars 
22 
17 
31 
33 
30 

28 
25 
54 

18 

21 
20 
18 
40 


Dollars 
35 
24 
36 
45 
46 

37 
40 
112 

30 

30 
36 
29 

72 


Dollars 
23 
18 
26 
33 
29 

26 
28 
66 

19 

20 
26 
21 
32 


Hull, II.-. 

19 
16 

27 
34 
23 

21 
24 

43 

18 
21 
18 
23 


Dollars 
17 
13 
31 
33 
17 

16 

27 

11 

17 
16 
15 

17 


Dollars 
14 
10 
29 
26 

10 

8 

11 
12 
12 


Dollars 


























Livestock othei than dairy and 




General: 








Crop and livestock 









Sales per unit of investment were highest on poultry farms. In 
general, sales per unit of investment were higher on farms having 
a major source of income from crops than from livestock types. 
Cash-grain farms were the only notable exception to this; they 
averaged only $17 per unit of investment. 

Sales per unit of investment decrease with decreasing size. 
The differentials are large for some types. Class I poultry farms, 
for example, had sales per unit of investment nearly 15 times 
greater than Class VI farms of this type. In contrast, the dif- 
ferentials between economic classes of cotton farms were relatively 
small. 



44 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Gross Sales per Man-Equivalent 

Gross farm sales per man-equivalent amounted to $5,000 for 
all commercial farms in 1954 (see table 42). These ranged from 
a high of more than $8,000 for poultry farms to a low of about 
$3,000 on cotton and other field-crop farms. Cash-grain and 
livestock farms, which had the lowest sales per acre, were among 
the highest types in sales per man-equivalent. 



Table 42. — Value of All Farm Products Sold per Man-Equiv 
alent of Labor Used, by Type of Commercial Farm by 
Economic Class of Farm, for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial farms 


Dulhir.; 

r,(un 
(',. 785 
2,919 
2, 877 
4,497 

5,857 

1, ."A! 
8,305 

6,791 

4,575 
4,214 
4. 558 
4,831 


Dollars 

III, TIM 
14,848 

S, '.CSS 

c, '.137 
5,685 

7,292 

'J, 353 
18, 229 

17, 772 

8,251 

III, tr,l 
111.97(1 
5,774 


D„ll„,t, 
s, 223 

i-.! 147 
C, 173 
4,306 

6,115 

7.197 
10, 998 

9,470 

6,511 

8, -143 
8. 1211 
5,399 


Dollars 
5, 0211 
5,947 
3,517 

3, 864 
3,518 

4,848 

4, 8(12 
6,512 

5,486 

4,300 

5,032 

5, (140 
4,123 


Dollars 

2, 010 

3. 840 
2,035 
2,477 
2,442 

3,668 

2, 005 
4,051 

3,344 

2,729 

2, 18 
2, 028 

3,048 


Dollars 
1,008 
2,3112 
1,261 
1,50(1 
1,608 

2,373 

1,700 
2,439 

2,084 

1,708 

1,700 
1,754 
2,128 


Dollars 
727 


























Livestock other than daily und 




General: 





















Sales per man-equivalent were highest on Class I farms for 
each type. They decreased substantially for each successively 
smaller economic class. For each type of farm the differential 
between economic classes is fairly similar. Each successively 
smaller economic class had gross sales per man-equivalent only 
half to two-thirds that of the economic class above it. Gross 
sales per man-equivalent for Class I farms was 10 to 20 times 
greater than for Class VI farms. 

Limitations of Relating Sales to Resources 

Comparisons of gross productivity per unit of farm resources 
do not take account of farm expenses. The proportion of farm 
sales that is net varies by type of farm as well as between economic 
classes within each type. The effect of these variations is prob- 
ably more important between types of farm, however, than be- 
tween classes of the same type. Farm expenses and the propor- 
tion they comprise of gross farm sales are discussed later in this 
report. 

In addition, sales per unit of resources between economic 
classes of farms are affected by classification on the basis of sales 
in the particular year. They may have been higher or lower 
than normal because of chance factors. 

In view of the wide differentials between economic classes of 
farms shown in the preceding tables, it is reasonable to conclude 
that resources are used to greater efficiency on the larger economic 
classes. The precise amount of these differentials, however, 
cannot be determined from the existing data. 



Investment per Man-Equivalent 

Differences in gross productivity per worker between types and 
economic classes of farms may be partly attributable to differences 
in the amount of other resources at the disposal of workers on 
these farms. The capital investment discussed previously, 
provides an indication of the total nonlabor resources. The 
capital investment per farm was divided by the man-equivalents 
per farm to provide the data shown in table 43. 

The investment per man-equivalent worker for commercial 
agriculture as a whole was about $22,000 in 1954. For cash-grain 
and livestock farms the average was nearly $40,000. The lowest 
average investment per worker was on cotton and other field-crop 
farms, an average of less than $10,000. 

By economic class of farm, the highest investment per worker 
was on Classes I and II. This was true for all types except 
vegetable farms. For vegetable farms the investment per worker 
was highest in Class III. 

Investment per worker decreased with decreasing size of farm; 
the lowest investment was found on Class VI farms. The 
exception is that investment per worker was higher on Class II 
than on Class I for all types except cash-grain and cotton farms. 

Class II farms are mostly family operated. That is, the farm 
operator and members of his family comprise most of the labor 
force. These farms as a group typify the large, up-to-date, 
highly mechanized family farms. Many Class I farms also are 
operated primarily with family labor, but included in this group 
are larger farms that hire most of the farm work done. 

Apparently Class II farms have reached sufficient size to 
achieve reasonably efficient use of most modern innovations 
designed to increase output and decrease labor needs. The 
income and credit positions of families on Class II farms have 
probably been sufficient to enable them to make profitable invest- 
ments in productive land, modern buildings, and other capital 
items. Workers on these farms have capital resources to work 
with that are equal to or greater than that of workers on Class I 
farms. 

Table 43. — Capital Investment in Land and Buildings, 
Livestock and Machinery per Man-Equivalent of Labor 
Used, by Type of Commercial Farm by Economic Class of 
Farm, for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic olass of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial 


Dollars 
22,516 

"\l. 301 
8,736 
12, 665 

20, 972 

is. 377 
15, 461 

22,281 

21,401 
21.013 

12,154 


Dollars 

30, 113 
01,000 
25. 127 
15.415 
12, 318 

19, 921 

23, 1 13 
16, 316 

68, 665 
27, 689 

20. 300 
37,812 

8,069 


Dollars 

30,431 
53, 054 
23, 300 
1.8, 450 
14,960 

23,449 

25, 504 
16,646 

48,857 

32, 813 

32,318 
37,841 
16, 919 


Dollars 

37,' 4 11 
13, 18S 
11,350 
15, 574 

23, 265 

10, 002 
15, 187 

36, 115 

23,651 

24, 443 
27, 872 
18,260 


Dollars 

10,704 
28,541 
6,588 
7,419 
14, 243 

23, 010 

15.200 

14,978 
29, 406 

16, 411 

17,050 
10.880 

18, 078 


Dollars 

12,000 

22. 1-10 
4,390 
6,114 

13,087 

23, 574 

12,570 
15,388 

25,605 
15,350 

15,221 
14,838 
19, 008 


Dollars 












4,489 






Fruit-and-nut 


13, 221 

8,670 






Livestock other than 
dairy and poultry 

General: 
Primarily crop 

Primarily livestock,. . 
Crop and livestock 


14,061 

10, 553 

11,300 
9,77(1 
10,720 







A GENERAL VIEW 



45 



TOTAL FARM EXPENSES 

Data on total farm expenses are available from a farm expendi- 
ture survey taken in the spring of 1956 by the Bureau of the 
Census and the Agricultural Marketing Service which has pro- 
vided needed information on the production expenses of farmers. 
In this survey a sample of approximately 6,600 farmers answered 
detailed questions covering their farm expenses for the calendar 
year 1955. For an explanation of the sample design and pro- 
cedure and for an estimate of the sampling error, see volume III, 
part 11. 

One tabulation obtained from the survey was by type of farm 
and by selected economic classes of farms. The average per farm 
of the major categories of farm expenses by type of farm arc 
shown in table 44. These farm expenses relate to 1955. Other 
data on farm and farm-operator characteristics contained in this 
report are from the 1954 Census of Agriculture and relate to 1954. 



For this reason direct comparison of the two sets of data would 
not be meaningful. Also, the farm expenses obtained in the 
survey included expenses incurred for family living that ordinarily 
would not be charged against the farm business. (See footnotes 
to table 44.) In addition, the production expenses for cropper 
farms obtained in the survey were included in the economic class 
in which the landlord's home farm was tabulated. 

Data from the survey are useful primarily in showing the relative 
magnitude of categories of farm expenses for different types and 
sizes of farms and the proportions these categories comprise of 
total farm expenses. These relationships may also be useful in 
examination of the specified expense items obtained by the 1954 
Census of Agriculture. An attempt is made later in this report to 
indicate the extent to which the Census specified expense items are 
representative of total farm expenses for the different types and 
economic classes of farms. 



Table 44. — Cash Farm Expenditures: Average per Farm by Type of Farm by Economic Class, for the United States: 1955 



Expenditure by economic class of farm 



ALL CLASSES 



Total expenditures 

Cash wages 

Machine hire and cnstomwork 

Livestock and poultry purchased. 
Feed for livestock and poultry 



Dollars 
12,. '171 
4,414 



Seeds, plants, and trees 

Commercial fertilizer and liming materials 

Petroleum product--, farm business share i. 

Repair and other operating costs for motor vehicles and farm ma- 
chinery' 

Marketing costs - 



Miscellaneous current operating oxpen-e, not included elsewhere ' 

Property taxes, farm business share * 

Interest, farm business share » 

Constiuotion mid land improvement' 

Purchase of motor vehicles, farm machinery and equipment 7 ._ .. 

CLASSES I AND II 



Total expenditures— 

("ash iiaees 

Machine lure mid cnstomwork.- - 
Livestock and poultry purchased 
Feed for livestock and poultry 



Seeds, plant", and trees-_ 

Commercial fertilize] and limine materials 

Petroleum products, farm business share ' 

Kepair and oilier operating costs for motor vehicles and farm ; 

chinery 3 _. 

Marketing costs - 



Miscellaneous current upending expense, not included elsewhere ' 

Property taxi's, farm business share * 

Interest, farm business share > 

Construction mid land improvement' 

Purchase of motor vehicles, farm machinery and equipment T 



1,957 
2,046 



CLASSICS HI THROUGH VI 



Total expenditures , 

Cash wages 

Machine lure and cnstomwork 

Livestock and poultry purchased. 
Feed for livestock and poultry 



Seeds, plants, and trees- 

Commercial fertilizer and limine materials 

Petroleum products, farm business share ' 

Repair and other operating costs for mob 

chinery ' 

Marketing costs 



vehicles and farm 



Miscellaneous current op.aatiug expense, not included elsewhere ' 

Property taxes, farm business share * 

Interest, farm business share > _.. 

Construction mid land improvement'- _ _ 

Purchase of motor vehicles, farm machinery and equipment 7 



1 Expenditures minus tax refunds. Includes expenditures attributable to uses other I ban farm business. 

' Includes repairs, icplaccmcnl parts, accessories, registration far. and insurani n vehicles. Includes expenditures attributable to uses oilier than farm lni,.moss. 

» Medicine, disinti etaiils, pesticides, electricity, telephone service, insurance, hand loots, and miscellaneous farm business expenses (management sei vices, recordkeeping, legal 
fees, advertising expenses, etc.). 

1 Includes some properly laves on furniture and other household goods attributable to family li 



* Includes interest on debt contiacted lor family living expenses. 

'■ Kxrludes expend) tines by landlords, excludes expenditures for construction and repair of 

' Purchase cost minus value of trade-in and sales. Includes expenditures atti Unliable to uses other than farm business. 



oiling except, for multi-unit t 



46 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Cash wages. — The expenditure for hired labor amounted to 
$764 for the average commercial farm in 1955 and comprised 
about a tenth of the total farm expenses. Cash wages were a 
much more important expense on some types of farms than others. 
In general, cash-grain farms and types of farms having a major 
source of income from livestock products had relatively small 
expense for hired labor, amounting to 7 percent or less of the total 
expenses. (See table 45.) On farms with a major source of 
income from crops (except cash-grain farms) cash wages ranged 
from nearly a fifth to a fourth or more of the total farm expenses. 



The farm expenses have been tabulated into two economic 
class groups — Classes I and II, which combine all farms with sales 
of farm products valued at $10,000 or more, and Classes III, IV, 
V, and VI, a combination of commercial farms that had sales of 
farm products valued at less than $10,000. 

Cash wages comprised a higher proportion of total expenses 
on the larger economic classes of farms than on the smaller 
classes — 14 percent and 7 percent, respectively, for all types taken 
together. A similar relationship existed between the two size 
groups for each type individually. 



Table 45. — Cash Farm Expenditures as a Percentage of Total Farm Expenditures, 

Farm, for the United States: 1955 



Type of Farm, by Economic Class of 





All 

cial 
farms 


Type of farm 




Cash- 
grain 


Cotton 


Other 
field- 
crop 


table 


Fruit- 
and- 


Dairy 


Poul- 
try 


Live- 
stock 
other 

poultry 


General— 






Pri- 
marily 
crop 


Pri- 

m.'U'ilv 
live- 
stock 


live- 
stock 


Mis- 
cella- 


ALL CLASSES 


Percent 
100.0 
10.8 
2.3 
10.8 
17.2 

3.4 

5.4 
8.5 

6.1 
4.7 

6.9 
3.2 
2.3 
5.3 
13.1 

100.0 
14.2 
1.7 
13.7 
18.2 

3.1 

5.2 

5.2 
5.2 

7.2 
2.7 
2.0 

10^5 

100.0 
6.9 
3.1 
7.5 
16.2 

3.8 
5.6 
11.1 

7.2 
4.1 

6.5 
3.8 
2.6 
5.6 
15.9 


Percent 
100.0 

3^1 
8.2 
7.2 

4.6 
6.8 
12.3 

9.5 
2.8 

6.6 
4.1 
2.5 
5.2 
20.4 

100.0 
9.1 
2.6 

6^7 

4.6 
7.9 
10.8 

9.4 
3.0 

3^5 
2.1 
5.7 
18.9 

100.0 
4.8 
3.6 
8.0 
7.6 

4.5 

2^5 

6.2 
4.6 
3.0 
4.8 
21.7 


Percent 
100.0 
23.4 
2.9 
3.6 
3.1 

3.5 

7.0 
9.6 

7.0 
8.2 

7.6 
1.5 
2.4 
4.7 
15.7 

100.0 

27.4 
2.8 
3.2 
1.8 

3.4 
6.9 
7.9 

6.6 
8.8 

9.8 
1.5 
2.3 
5.1 
12.4 

100.0 
18.2 
3.0 
4.0 
4.7 

3.5 
7.3 
11.8 

7.4 
7.3 

4.8 

2^5 
4.4 
19.8 


Percent 
100.0 
19.4 
2.8 
3.0 
4.3 

5.5 
11.2 

9.9 

6.7 
5.8 

7.8 
2.3 
2.2 
6.1 
13.1 

1110. 
29.3 
2.2 
3.0 
2.3 

6.2 
10.0 
5.7 

5.3 
6.7 

10.4 
2.5 
2.0 

8^0 

100.0 
10.5 
3.3 

6.1 

4.9 
12.2 
13.7 

7.9 
4.9 

5.4 
2.2 
2.3 
5.9 
17.7 


11.0 

27.5 
1.1 
1.0 
1.4 

6.3 
9.8 
5.9 

4.9 
17.8 

8.6 
3.0 
1.5 
5.7 
5.6 

100.0 

30.7 
1.0 
0.7 
1.0 

4.7 
11.1 
4.2 

4.2 
21.3 

8.3 
2.2 
1.4 
4.3 
5.1 

100.0 

L4 
1.6 
2.3 

9.9 
7.2 

6.4 
10.0 

9.4 

1.5 

8.8 
6.6 


1011 II 

29.5 
1.2 
1.3 
2.5 

1.9 
6.8 
5.7 

4.5 
14.8 

11.4 
3.6 
1.6 
4.8 

10.5 

100.0 
32.2 

lie 

2.0 

1.3 

6.6 
4.7 

4.2 
17.4 

11.8 
3.4 
1.4 
4.7 

8.1 

100.0 
23.2 
1.9 
0.6 
3.9 

3.6 
7.4 
8.1 

5.3 

8.8 

10.4 
3.9 
2.0 
5.0 

15.9 


mil i'i 

7.3 
2.5 
5.3 
25.1 

2.8 
4.2 
8.4 

6.8 
4.9 

7.4 
3.7 
2.6 
5.6 
14.5 

100.0 
11.8 
1.4 
5. 6 
30.8 

2.3 
4.1 

4.4 

4.7 

7.3 
2.7 
2.2 
5.2 
12.1 

100.0 
4.5 
3.1 
5.1 
21.5 

3.1 

10^2 

6.6 
5.0 

4.4 
2.8 
5.8 
16.0 


Percent 
100.0 
4.0 
0.6 
12.8 
68.2 

0.7 
1.2 
3.8 

L8 

4.0 
1.4 
1.3 
3.9 
4.5 

100.0 
5.0 

12! 5 

61.3 

0.5 
0.8 
2.6 

1.4 
1.7 

3.9 
1.1 
1.3 

3.6 

4.0 

100.0 
1.9 

13! 3 

61.9 

1.2 
2.0 
6.2 

3.4 
1.9 

4.2 
1.9 
1.3 
4.5 
5.3 


Percent 
100.0 

2.0 
22.0 

20.0 

2.6 
3.9 
7.1 

5.3 
2.7 

6.2 
3.6 
2.5 
5.3 
10.3 

100.0 
7.7 
1.3 
29.1 
20.4 

2.1 
3.3 
5.2 

4.4 

2.5 

5.9 
3.1 
2.3 
4.3 
8.4 

100.0 
4.7 
3.0 
12.0 
19.5 

3.4 

9i 9 

6.6 
3.0 

6.6 
4.3 
2.6 
6.6 
13.0 


l'l'irt'nt 
100.0 
17.6 
3.7 
4.6 
3.8 

5.1 
9.2 
9.8 

6.4 
6.1 

9.3 
2.5 
1.9 
5.8 
14.4 

100.0 
21.2 
3.3 

5.2 
2.4 

4.6 

8.8 
7.8 

6.1 
8.3 

10.6 
2.1 
1.5 
5.8 

12.4 

100.0 
11.7 
4.3 
3.5 
6.1 

5.8 
9.6 
13.2 

6.8 
2.5 

7.1 
3.3 

2.5 
5.7 
17.9 


toil 
4.4 
3.0 
7.1 
23.7 

3.4 

9^9 

6.3 
3.7 

6.8 
3.8 
2.2 
5.7 
15.4 

100.0 
8.3 
1.7 
6.9 
25.1 

2.9 
6.2 

7.1 

5.6 
3.5 

6.9 
3.0 
1.2 
6.4 
15.1 

100.0 
2.9 
3.5 
7.2 
23.1 

3.6 

10^9 

6.6 
3.8 

6.8 
4.2 
2.6 

5. 4 
15.5 


Pliant 
100.0 
7.1 
3.3 
9.2 
13.8 

4.3 
6.7 
10.6 

7.5 
4.2 

7.0 
3.5 
2.4 
6.4 
13.9 

100.0 
10.4 

2.4 
13.1 
13.5 

3.5 
7.3 
7.6 

6.2 
4.5 

6.9 
2.8 
2.6 
6.7 
12.6 

100.0 

i.O 
6.6 
14.1 

4.8 
6.4 
12.7 

8.5 
3.9 

4^0 
2.3 
6.3 
14.8 


Pinrnt 






























Repair and other oporathii; costs fur motor vehicles and farm ma- 








Miscellaneous current operating expense, not included elsewhere 3 .. . 


8.0 










Purchase of motor vehicles, faun machinery and equipment ;...__ 
CLASSES I AND II 


7.5 










Livestock and poultry putcha-ed 


0.8 




15.0 


Commercial fertilizer and 1 1 1 1 1 1 n u r materials 


3.8 
4.9 


Repair and other operating costs for motor vehicles and farm ma- 


1.9 






Miscellaneous current operator.' expense, not included elsewhere 3 ._ 


8.2 
2.1 




1.2 




6.4 


Purchase of motor vehicles, farm machinery and. equipment 7 

CLASSES III THROUGH VI 


4.8 
100.0 




16.6 




1.7 




1.1 




7.2 


Seeds, plants, and frees. 


11.4 
5.1 




10.8 


Repair and other operating co-is for motor vehicles and farm ma- 


6.5 




6.3 


Miscellaneous current operating expense, not included elsewhere.. 


7.3 
3.7 










Purchase of motor vehicles, farm machinery and equipment ' 


15.9 



repair; 

3 Medicine, disinfectants, pesticides, electricity, telephone sol \ ice, insurance, hand tools, and miscellaneous faun business expenses (management 
fees, advertising expenses, etc.). 

< Includes some pinj iert> taxes on fin nil u ml oilier household roods at nil m table to family living expenses. 

* Includes interest on debt contracted for family lix Hit' expenses. 

• Excludes expenditures by landlords, excludes expend nines en ■const met ion and repair of opei at 01's duel line except for mulli mill tenant farms. 
» Purchase cost minus value of trade-in and sales. Includes expenditures at tributable to use:- other than farm business. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



-17 



Of the tot ill rush wages ]i:ud m r01111iMTn.1l agnciill ill f ■, cotton 
farms accounted for slightly more than ;i fifth — a larger proportion 
than any other type (see table 46). The next highest users of 
hired labor were livestock farms other than dairy and poultry 
which accounted for slightly less than a fifth of the cash wages 
paid. 

Machine hire. — The expenditure for machine hire was relatively 
small for each type and size of farm. It amounted to $165 for 
commercial farms as a group and accounted for only 2 percent of 
the total expenses. By type of farm there was small variation. 
For each type of farm, however, machine hire was a higher pro- 
portion of total expenses on the smaller economic classes of farms. 
Operators of the smaller farms frequently have insufficient acreage 
to utilize certain items of farm machinery efficiently. This indi- 
cates a tendency on the part of many to hire machine work done 
on a custom basis. 

Purchase of livestock and poultry. — About three-fifths of the 
total expenditures for livestock and poultry purchases by com- 
mercial farmers in 1955 was accounted for by livestock farms 
other than dairy and poultry — an average of nearly $2,000 per 
farm. On farms of this type the purchase of livestock and 
poultry was the largest single expense item and it amounted to 
more than a fifth of the total farm expenses. On other types of 
farms the proportion of this expense to total expenses ranged 
from 13 percent for poultry farms to only 1 percent for vegetable 
and fruit-and-nut farms. 



Among types of farms having a major source of income from 
crops, the expense for purchase of livestock and poultry was largest 
on cash-grain farms. This is an indication of the importance of 
livestock feeding as a secondary farm enterprise for farmers who 
raise and sell grains, especially feed grains. 

For most types of farms there are no appreciable differences 
between the larger and smaller farms in the proportion of total 
farm expenses comprised by the purchase of livestock and poultry. 
The exception is found among livestock farms other than dairy 
and poultry. On the larger economic classes for this type 29 
percent of the total farm expense was for purchase of livestock 
and poultry compared with only 12 percent on the smaller economic 



Many more of the larger livestock farms purchase cattle and 
hogs and feed them for resale. In fact, this causes some of them 
to be classified in the larger economic classes even though the net 
income is no more than that of some farmers in the smaller 
economic classes who raise a larger part of their livestock. 

Feed for livestock and poultry. — This is the largest single 
expense item for commercial farmers. Their feed bill amounted 
to about $1,200 per commercial farm in 1955 and made up 17 
percent of the total expenses. The heaviest users of purchased 
feed were dairy, poultry, and other livestock farms. The three 
types taken together accounted for four-fifths of the feed purchased 
by commercial farmers. 

Feed purchased was by far the most important expense for 
poultry farmers, comprising 58 percent of their total expenses. 
A fourth of the total expenses of dairy and general livestock 
farmers and a fifth of the total expenses of other livestock farmers 
went for feed. 

For poultry, dairy, and other livestock farms the expenditure 
for feed comprised a greater proportion of the total expenses on 
the larger economic classes of farms. For other types (on which 
feed was not an important expense item) the smaller economic 
classes had greater proportionate expenses for feed. 

Seeds, plants, and trees. — The expenditure for seed, plants, 
and trees made up only 3 percent of the total farm expenses. This 
ranged from less than 1 percent on poultry farms to about 6 per- 
cent on vegetable farms. There was small variation between 
the larger and smaller economic classes of farms in this respect. 

Commercial fertilizer and liming materials. — The average com- 
mercial farmer spent $385 for fertilizer and lime in 1955. This 
represents less than 6 percent of the total expenses. The largest 
expenditure was made by vegetable farmers who averaged $1,500 
each, followed by fruit-and-nut farmers who spent $750 each. 
As a proportion of total expenses, however, the largest share (11 
percent) was spent on fertilizer and lime by other field-crop farmers. 

Of the total commercial fertilizers and liming material pur- 
chased, about a fifth each was used on cash-grain farms and live- 
stock farms other than dairy and poultry. Between 10 and 15 
percent each was used on cotton, other field-crop, and dairy 
farms. These 5 types accounted for about four-fifths of the 
fertilizers and liming material used. 



Table 46. — Percent Distribution of Each Expenditure by Type of Farm, for the United States: 1955 



Expenditure by economic class of fan 



Other 
field- 
crop 



Total expenditures 

Cash w»ges... 

Machine hire and customwork. 

Livestock and poult; v purchased 

Feed for livestock and poultry 

Seeds, plants, and trees 

Commercial fertiliz.-r ami limine; materials 

Petroleum product-, tat m ti'riui'-s -hare _ 

Repair and other operating costs for motor vehicles and farm 

machinery 

Marketing costs __. 

Miscellaneous current nperatine expense, not incl ided elsewhere- 

Property taxes, farm business share 

Interest, farm business share 

Construction and land improvement 

Purchase of motor vehicles and farm machinery and equipment 



48 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Fuel, repairs, and other operating costs for motor vehicles and 
farm machinery. — Operating costs for motor vehicles and farm 
machinery amounted to more than $1,000 per commercial farm 
and comprised nearly 15 percent of the total farm expenses in 1955. 
This proportion ranged from 22 percent on cash-grain farms to 
only 6 percent on poultry farms. Two types of farms, cash-grain 
and livestock farms other than dairy and poultry accounted for more 
than a third each of the total expenditure for operating costs. 

For each type of farm the operating costs were a greater pro- 
portion of the total expenses on the smaller economic classes of 
farms than on the larger ones. The data are influenced by the 
inclusion of fuel and upkeep for the family automobile, an item 
found on most farms in 1955. Operating costs for automobiles 
would tend to be greater, relative to other machinery expenses for 
the smaller farms than for the larger ones. However, the data 
are probably indicative of the problems encountered by many 
operators of small farms in utilizing machinery efficiently. In 
general, they have lagged behind the operators of larger farms in 
their use of machinery. But even at their present levels of mech- 
anization the smaller farms spent more proportionately for 
operation of machinery than the larger ones. 

Marketing costs. — These amounted to only 5 percent of the 
total farm expenses for commercial farms as a group. Marketing 
costs were a more important expense item for vegetable farms and 
fruit-and-nut farms than other types. These costs comprised 
18 percent and 15 percent, respectively, of the total farm ex- 
penses. Cotton farmers also had relatively high marketing costs 
amounting to 8 percent of all expenditures. 

Miscellaneous farm operating expenses. — These include a num- 
ber of expense items not included elsewhere. The major items 
are expenses for medicine and disinfectants, pesticides, electricity, 
telephone service, insurance, hand tools, and miscellaneous farm 
business expenses (management services, recordkeeping, legal fees, 
advertising expenses, etc.). 

These expenses comprised 7 percent of the total cash farm ex- 
penses in 1955 for commercial farms as a group. They were a 
fairly constant proportion of the total expenses for most types 
ranging from a high of 11 percent on fruit-and-nut farms to a low 
of 4 percent on vegetable farms. 

Property taxes and interest. — About 6 percent of the total cash 
expenses of commercial farmers were for these expenses. There 
was small variation between the types and economic classes of 
farms in this respect. 

Capital expenditures. — The total expenditures for 1955 included 
two items of capital expenditure: (1) Payment for construction 
and land improvement and (2) purchase of motor vehicles and 
farm machinery. These items are not generally included in 
current farm operating expenses. Their costs are more properly 
spread over a period of years. 

The capital expenditure items are included here with the total 
cash expenses, largely as a matter of convenience. However, the 
purchase of capital equipment is largely for replacement of exist- 
ing equipment. It is probable that the total cash outlay for 
capital equipment by farmers in any one year approximates the 
cost that might be attributed to depreciation of all capital equip- 
ment on farms for the 1-year period. It is an overstatement 
of depreciation to the extent that these purchases represent an 
increase in the total investment of farmers. 

The cost for construction and land improvements made up 
about 5 percent of the total cash expenses of commercial farmers. 
This was a fairly constant proportion of the total expenses for 



each type of farm. The proportion of total expenses that were 
for construction and land improvement was slightly greater on 
the smaller than on the larger economic classes for most types 
of farms. 

The purchase of motor vehicles and farm machinery was one of 
the largest cash expenses of commercial farmers in 1955, com- 
prising 13 percent of the total cash expenses. This expense varied 
considerably by type of farm. It amounted to a fifth of the total 
expenses of cash-grain farmers and was the largest single expense. 
Each type of farm reported 10 percent or more of the total cash 
expenses for purchase of motor vehicles and farm machinery 
except vegetable farms and poultry farms. 

The proportion of total expenses that went for purchase of 
motor vehicles and farm machinery was much greater on the 
smaller economic classes of farms than on the larger ones — half 
again to twice as much for most types of farms. 

Total Motor Vehicle and Machinery Expenses 

When the costs for purchase of motor vehicles and farm ma- 
chinery are added to the expenses for fuel, repairs, and other 
operating costs, it is apparent that these comprised the major 
cash expenditure of commercial farmers in 1955. The expenses 
for purchase and operation of motor vehicles and farm ma- 
chinery are shown as a proportion of the total cash expenses in 
table 47. These costs made up 28 percent of the total cash ex- 
penses of commercial farmers. They comprised from a fourth 
to two-fifths of the total on all except vegetable, fruit-and-nut, 
and poultry farms. 

Table 47- — Expenses for Purchase and Operation of Motor 
Vehicles, Farm Machinery, and Equipment ' as a Per' 
centage of total farm expenditure, by type and eco' 
nomic Class of Commercial Farm, for the United States: 
1955 





Total 


Economic class 
of farm 


Type of farm 


I and II 


III 

thrnu^l: 

VI 




27.7 
42.1 
32.3 
29.7 
16.3 

20.7 
28.7 
10.2 
22.7 

30.6 
31.6 
32.0 
17.0 


Percent 

39^2 
27.0 
19.0 
13.4 

17.0 

8.0 

18.0 

26.2 
27.8 
26.4 
11.6 


Percent 


































General: 





















On the smaller economic classes the proportions were even 
higher, accounting for a third or more of the total expenses for 
most types of farms. In Economic Classes III through VI motor 
vehicle and machinery costs amounted to 45 percent of the total 
cash farm expenses for cash-grain farmers and 39 percent for 
cotton and other field-crop farmers. 



A GENERAL VIEW 



49 



Census Specified Expenses 

The 1954 Census of Agriculture obtained data on the following 
farm expenditure items: Hired labor, machine hire, feed for 
livestock and poultry, gasoline and other petroleum fuel and oil, 
and commercial fertilizers and liming material. The individual 
expense items obtained by the Census for type by economic class 
of farm are not shown separately in this chapter but appear in 
volume III, part 8, of the Census of Agriculture. 

The average per farm of the total specified expenses and the 
proportion they comprise of the total value of farm products sold 
are shown for each type of farm by economic class in table 48. 
By type of farm the average expenditure ranged from about 
$1,300 for other field-crop farms to over $7,000 for vegetable and 
poultry farms. The specified farm expenses amounted to 37 
percent of the value of farm products sold for commercial farms 
as a group, but this varied considerably by type of farm — from 
a fourth on cash-grain farms to nearly three-fourths on poultry 
farms. Also, the specified expenses were higher, relative to sales, 
on the smaller economic classes of farms for most types. This is 
influenced by the higher proportion of the farm products pro- 
duced on these farms that are consumed in the home rather than 
sold. 



Table 48. — Specified Farm Expenses, Average per Farm and 
as a Percentage of the Total Value of Farm Products 
Sold, by Type of Farm by Economic Class, for the 
United States: 1954 



Specified expenses per farm: ' 

All commercial farms dolla 

Cash-grain do. 

Cotton... do. 

Other field-crop do. 

Vegetable do. 

Fruit-and-nut do. 

Dairy. do 

Poultry... do. 

Livestock other than dairy a 
poultry dolla 

General: 
Primarily crop do. 

Primarily livestock do. 

Crop and livestock do. 

Miscellaneous do. 



Specified expenses as a percent of 
the value of farm products sold : 

All commercial farms percent-. 

Cash-grain... do 

Cotton _ do 

Other field-crop do 

Vegetable do 

Fruit-and-nut do 

Dairy do 

Poultry ...do 

Livestock other than dairy and 
poultry percent.. 



General: 

Primarily crop _ 

Primarily livestock. 
Crop and livestock.. 

Miscellaneous 



Ki-oni.mic class nf 1 u in 



.'1,'JnH 

l!i. 4' hi 
II,. m,.-, 
'-'.-,,1,74 



II III IV 



1 Includes the following expenses: Cash wages, machine hire, feed for livestock and 
poultry, fuel and other petroleum products, and commercial fertilizer and liming 
materials. 



Relation of Census Specified Expenses to Total Farm Expenses 

The 1954 Census of Agriculture obtained specified farm ex- 
penses for the year 1954. Data from the Farm Expenditure 
Survey relate to 1955. Because of the different years involved 
the two series of data may not be compared directly. However, 
in the light of data from the Farm Expenditure Survey it is 
possible to make a meaningful evaluation of the Census specified 
expenses to appraise how representative they are of total ex- 
penses. For this purpose, the categories of expenses from the 
Farm Expenditure Survey which correspond to the Census speci- 
fied items have been computed as a proportion of total current 
cash expenses (exclusive of capital expenditures). These per- 
centages for types of farms by specified economic classes are 
shown in table 49. 

On the basis of relationships from the Farm Expenditure Sur- 
vey, the farm expenses obtained by the 1954 Census of Agriculture 
comprised slightly more than half of the total cash farm expenses 
of commercial farmers. The Census specified expenses accounted 
for a high of approximately three-fourths of the total expenses 
for poultry farmers and nearly three-fifths for those of cotton, 
other field-crop, dairy, and general livestock farmers. In con- 
trast, these expenses amounted to less than half of the total 
expenses of cash-grain and other livestock producers. 

There was little difference in tins respect between the two size 
groups for most types of farms. Notable exceptions are dairy 
farms and other livestock farms. Among dairy farms the Census 
specified expenses accounted for a greater proportion of total ex- 
penses for the larger economic classes. This was due partly to the 
higher expenditure for feed reported by the larger farms. For 
other livestock farms the Census specified expenses comprised a 
greater proportion of total expenses on the smaller economic 
classes. This was partly because the Census specified expenses 
did not include the expense for purchase of livestock and poultry. 
As mentioned previously, this was a much more important ex- 
pense on the larger than on the smaller economic classes of farms. 



Table 49. — Specified Group of Farm Expense Items as a 
Percentage of the Total Cash Farm Expenses, by Type 
of Farm by Economic Class, for the United States: 1955 ' 





Total 


Economic class of 
farm 


Type of farm 


I and II 


III 

through 




Percent 
54.2 
48.6 
57.8 
58.9 
51.5 

53.9 
69.3 
73.9 
46.8 

55.2 
57.7 
62.2 
66.9 


Percent 
53.8 
49.3 

66.8 
57.8 
52.8 

53.0 
64.7 
75.9 
43.4 

53.1 
61.7 
51.0 
68.2 


Percent 


































General: 





















' The following expenses, cash wages, machine hue f 1 foi livestock and poultry, 

fuel and other petroleum jiroilucts, and commercial fertilizer and liming materials, 
were divided by the total cash farm . \|,eiis, s lexchcUng those foi construction, land 
improvement, and purchase of motor vehicles, farm machinery and equipment). 



50 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Estimated Value Added 

It is not possible with existing data to make precise determina- 
tions of productivity and returns for types and economic classes 
of commercial farms. There are several important limitations. 
Foremost of these is that the specified farm expenses obtained in 
the Census of 1954 are not equally representative of total expenses 
for different types and economic classes of farms. An additional 
limitation is that data on farm sales obtained by the Census are 
not complete, largely because of omissions by farmers in the 
reporting of sales of livestock and livestock products. Still 
another limitation relates to the fact that the classifications of 
farms by type and by economic class are based on the value of 
farm products sold in the particular year 1954. Thus, a farm's 
type or economic class is affected by any abnormalities in yields 
or sales from inventories as well as the relative price relationships 
between commodities in 1954. 

Notwithstanding these limitations, an attempt has been made 
here to estimate differences between types and economic classes 
of farms in the value of farm products sold minus the cost of the 
material and contract services used in producing the products. 
This is an approximation of the value added by agriculture and 
will be referred to hereafter as value added. 

The estimate of value added was made in order to provide 
additional insight into the structural differences in farming. 
Technological changes in farming have brought about a sub- 
stantial increase in farm production but this has been accompanied 
by larger cash costs in farming. Farmers now purchase many 
materials for use in further production that they formerly pro- 
duced for themselves. The value of products sold is not a satis- 
factory measure of the relative productivity of a given type or 
size of farm because only a part of this value is actually created 
within the farm. Value added, as used here, attempts to correct 
for the widely different input-output relationships that exist in 
respect to types and sizes of farms. It is thought that the esti- 
mate of value added may be useful for a broad appraisal of pro- 
ductivity differentials within the various segments of commercial 
agriculture. 

In developing the estimate of value added, the Census specified 
expenses (excluding cash wages) were expanded to reflect several 
additional expense items. The expansion was made on the basis 
of data from the Farm Expenditure Survey, discussed previously. 
The adjusted expenses for each type and economic class of farm 
were then subtracted from the total value of farm products sold. 

The Census expense items — machine hire, feed for livestock 
and poultry, gasoline and other petroleum fuel and oil, and com- 
mercial fertilizer and liming materials — were expanded to include 
expenditures for the following items: Livestock and poultry, 
seeds, plants and trees, and repairs and other operating costs for 
motor vehicles and farm machinery. The factor used in expanding 
the Census expense items was the percentage the former 4 items 
comprised of the larger category of 7 items as determined by data 
from the Farm Expenditure Survey. These percentages for each 
type of commercial farm are as follows: 



Type of farm 


S" 


Type of farm 


sion 




Percent 

56^8 
61.8 
64.9 

67^7 
74.3 

80.4 


All commercial farms— Con. 
Livestock uihcr than dairy 
and poultry. 

General, primarily crop 

General. priinunh livestock 
General, crop ami livestock. 


Percent 












62.3 


Vegetable 


71.0 

















The totals of the Census expense items (excluding cash wages) 
for each type of farm by economic class were divided by the 
percentages shown in the previous table. The expanded expendi- 
ture data were then subtracted from the value of farm products 
sold. 

It will be noted that the farm expenses, as adjusted, do not 
include several items commonly included in current cash expenses; 
namely, marketing charges, interest, taxes, and other miscella- 
neous expenses. Interest and taxes are quite properly excluded 
from the value added concept. These are charges to capital and 
do not represent materials used in further production. Marketing 
cost and other miscellaneous farm expenses would normally be 
deducted. 

Marketing costs were omitted because of the possible duplication 
of this expense in the value of farm products sold. The total 
value of farm products, as reported by the Census, has some of 
the marketing charges deducted. Farmers, in reporting their 
sales of farm products are likely to report the value received after 
freight, handling, and commission charges have been deducted. 
Under the procedure employed by the Census of Agriculture, each 
farmer was asked to report the value of livestock, livestock prod- 
ucts, vegetables, horticultural specialities, and forestry products 
sold. It is believed that the values reported for these products 
tend to have a large part of the marketing costs deducted. On 
the other hand, for field crops and .fruits and nuts, each farmer 
reported the quantity sold and the market value was computed 
as part of the office procedure by applying average unit prices. 
Values computed on this basis would more nearly represent 
market values before any deduction. 

Miscellaneous farm expenses (not included elsewhere) were 
excluded from the estimate because this category is composed of 
a large variety of minor items. Some of these include expenses 
not attributable to the farm business; others are capital and 
management services whose inclusion would be questionable. It 
was believed that exclusion of this category would not affect 
greatly the comparability of the estimates between types and 

The value added per farm is shown in table 50. Value added, 
as estimated here, amounted to $4,088 per commercial farm in 
1954. This was 56 percent of the gross value of farm products 
sold. By type of farm, value added was highest for vegetable and 
fruit-and-nut farms, averaging about $12,000 per farm. These 
types were also highest in the average value of farm products 
sold. (See table 26 for comparisons.) Poultry farms, also among 
the highest in the average value of farm products sold, were 
lowest in the value added, averaging only $1,300 per farm. Most 
other types ranged between $3,000 and $5,000 in value added. 

Table 50. — Estimated Value Added per Farm by Type of 
Farm by Economic Class, for the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial farms 


Dollars 

1.IISS 

'i. 53.1 

3,011(1 
11,553 

12, 146 
3, 303 
1,324 
3,936 

4.742 
2,556 

3. 2117 
10, 749 


Hollo, x 
37, 155 
31,0111 
52, S01 
45. (US 

76,956 

25! 53 1' 
11. 432 
32, 230 

47, 787 

10, 12S 
311.720 

62, 101 


Hollo, s 
s, 317 
10.010 
Id. lino 

10, 40S 
10,561 

13, 510 
7,493 
1,966 
7,309 

8,716 

7,568 
8, 10,4 
12,051 


Ihilhrs 

3. 700 
4.431 

4, 720 
4. SSS 
4,336 

6,273 

3,679 

604 

2,813 

3,909 

3,0(10 
3, S12 


Dollars 
1.S37 
2.015 
2. 373 
2. 651 
1,960 

3,146 

1,819 

151 

943 

1,814 

1.5*10 
1,607 
2,079 


Dollar* 

709 
1, 168 
1,317 

739 

1,421 
765 
114 

769 
576 
606 
849 


nollars 
217 
96 




421 




501 




160 


Fruil-and-nut 


210 




(') 




w 


General: 

Primarily crop 


250 
135 




142 




164 







the value of farm products t 



A GENERAL VIEW 



51 



Among farms in each economic class there is much greater 
variation between types in the value added than in the total value 
of farm products sold. Value added, as a proportion of total 
sales, varies considerably between types of farms for each economic 
class (see table 51). It is highest on fruit-and-nut farms for each 
economic class of farm. In general, value added was a higher 
proportion of the gross sales for farms with a major source of 
income from sales of field crops and vegetables than for livestock 
types. It comprised the lowest proportion of gross sales on poul- 
try farms. 

Value added was a greater proportion of farm sales on the larger 
than on the smaller economic classes of farms for each type. 
This is influenced to a large extent by the measure of value added 
being based upon farm products sold rather than the total value 
of products produced. On the smaller economic classes of far ms 
a substantial part of the production is consumed on the farm. 

Table 51. — Estimated Value Added as a Percent of th 
Total Value of Farm Products Sold, by Type of Farm by 
Economic Class: 1954 



Type of farm 


Total 


Economic class of farm 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial farms 


Per- 

V.o'u 
64.6 
71.3 
71.1 
72.0 

84.3 
50.6 
13.7 
44.6 

64.4 

52^8 
81.5 


Per- 
cent 

75' 9 
75.8 
75.6 
76.0 

86.8 
50.9 
19.1 
55.4 

73.0 
48.2 
64.7 
87.5 


Per- 

67^7 
70.7 
69.7 
68.3 

84.0 

52.8 
12.5 
47.9 

64.7 
53.0 
57.8 
79.7 


Per- 

52.4 
60.6 
69.6 
70.7 
61.6 

80.4 
51.8 
8.2 
38.6 

59.4 
50.5 
53.2 

71.2 


Per- 
cent 
49.6 
52.4 
69.4 
71.3 
56.1 

76.6 
48.6 
4.0 
25.2 

53.2 
40.5 

58^8 


Per- 
il. 1 
66 2 
68.4 
42.5 

69.6 
40.6 
6.1 

7.8 

45.0 
30.5 
32.3 
46.4 


Per- 
28.7 








62.2 






















General: 

Primarily crop 


34.0 















> Expenses exceeded the value of farm products sold. 

Value added per man- equivalent. — When converted to a man- 
equivalent basis, value added becomes a reasonably good measure 
of labor productivity. At prevailing levels of prices for farm 
products and costs of materials used in further production, it is a 
measure of efficiency in the use of labor resources. Value added 
per man-equivalent amounted to $2,800 for commercial farms as 
a group. (See table 52.) It was highest on fruit-and-nut and 
cash-grain farms, averaging $4,900 and $4,400, respectively. 

Table 52. — Estimated Value Added per Man-Equivalent by 
Type of Farm, by Economic Class, for the United States: 
1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


v 


VI 


All commercial farms 


111,11,1, / 
2. Mill 
4..SM 
2. (Ml 
2. Dili 
3,236 

4,939 

2. 2-14 
1,141 

2,945 

1,'Jsl 
2,4117 
3,937 


Il,,U,l,.s 

(',, X55 
11.271 
0.x] 2 
''.241 
4,318 

6,330 

4. 703 

3, 4x11 
9,856 

6,026 
5.047 
7,li:i7 
5,053 


ll,,U„r.s 

4.1.12 
('., 1.2:1 
4,345 
4,301 
2,941 

5,136 

:i, mm 
1.375 
4,540 

4,211 
4.478 
4,f.'.l2 
4,304 


Dollars 

2. 629 

3,1.112 
2,440 
2, 731 
2,168 

3,896 

2, 520 

534 

2,115 

2,555 

2. 539 
2. 0X4 
2,936 


Ih,ll:,,,. 

1,440 
2,015 
1,412 
1,767 
1,371 

2,809 

1,455 

161 

842 

1,451 

1,195 
1,275 
1,792 


Dollars 
750 
854 
834 
1,0X8 
684 

1,652 
729 
148 
164 

769 
549 
566 
987 


Dollars 






























General: 

Primarily crop.... 


260 















Expenses exceeded the value of farm products sold. 



Most other types of farms ranged between $2,000 and $3,000 
value added per man-equivalent. The exception was poultry 
farms with about $1,100 per man-equivalent. 

Value added per man-equivalent was highest for Class I farms 
of each type and decreased with each successively smaller eco- 
nomic class. On Classes V and VI farms it was far below the 
average for commercial farms as a group. 

Value added per $1,000 of capital investment. — This is a 
measure of efficiency in the use of capital resources. The value 
added was divided by the total investment in land and buildings, 
machinery and equipment, and livestock inventory. This is 
expressed in terms of value added for each $1,000 of total capital 
investment in table 53. 

In general, farms with a major source of income from fruits 
and nuts, vegetables, and field crops had a higher product added 
per unit of capital used than types with a major source of income 
from livestock and livestock products. The exception was cash- 
grain farms. 



Table 53. — Estimated Value Added per $1,000 of Capital 
Investment in Land and Buildings, Machinery and Live- 
stock Inventory, by Type of Farm by Economic Class, for 
the United States: 1954 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


All commercial farms 


Dull, us 
124 
110 
222 
238 
257 

235 
127 

74 
80 

132 
92 
97 

326 


Dollars 

183 

271 
339 
351 

318 
203 
213 
168 

218 
172 

188 


Dollars 
127 
124 
186 
231 
197 

219 
149 
83 
93 

128 
139 
124 
256 


Dollars 
102 
96 

244 
139 

170 
126 
35 
59 

108 
104 
96 
161 


Dollars 
86 

214 
241 
98 

122 
95 

29 

65 
64 
99 


Dollars 
62 
39 
195 
188 

70 
58 

6 

50 
36 

52 


Dollars 
27 






























General: 





















Expenses exceed.:.! the value uf farm products sold 



Cash-grain farms, among the highest in value added per man- 
equivalent, were among the lowest in value added per unit of total 
investment. Cotton and other field-crop farms were among the 
lowest in value added per man-equivalent but were relatively high 
in value added per capital investment. For fruit-and-nut farms 
the value added was relatively high on both bases. It was rela- 
tively low on both bases for dairy, poultry, and other livestock 
farms. 



By economic class of farm the value added per unit of total 
investment is highest on Class I farms and decreases with each 
successively smaller economic class. For most types, however, 
the differences between economic classes are relatively small 
compared to the substantial differences between these classes in 
the value added per man-equivalent. 

Due to the limitations involved in making these estimates, no 
precise conclusion may be drawn regarding the specific amounts 
of value added per man-equivalent or per dollar of investment. 
However, it appears reasonable to conclude that (1) value added 
per man-equivalent and per dollar of investment is extremely low 
on the smaller economic classes of farms; low in relation to agri- 
culture as a whole and also in relation to that obtained in nonfarm 
sectors of the economy and (2) for any given type of farm their 
amounts are directly associated with the size of the farm business. 



52 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Home Facilities 

The measures of value added, discussed previously, are useful 
primarily in showing efficiency differentials in agriculture. They 
are not measures of farm income. However, due to the small 
volume of sales (and lesser amounts of value added) on the smaller 
economic classes of farms, it is probable that incomes from farming 
are fairly low. 

An indirect measure of income is found in the levels of living of 
farm-operator families as indicated by home facilities. The data 
and discussion which follow relate some of these to types and 
economic classes of farms. 

Electricity. — Most of rural America had electricity in the homes 
in 1954 — nearly 94 percent of all commercial farms. (See table 
54.) More than 90 percent of each type of farm except cotton 
reported electricity. Among farms of each type the proportion 
reporting electricity decreased with decreasing size of farm (meas- 
ured by gross sales of farm products). Even on Class VI farms, 
however, more than four-fifths of each type reported electricity, 
except cotton farms, of which about three-fourths had electricity 
in the homes. 

Table 54. — Percent of Farms Reporting Electricity by 
Type of Farm by Economic Class, for the United States: 
1954 



Type of farm 


Total 


Economic class of farm 


I 


n 


III 


rv 


V 


VI 




93. 8 
94.2 
86.8 
91.8 
94.1 

93.6 
97.3 
97.6 

95.0 

93.4 
95.3 
97.0 
94.6 


97.5 
97.3 
97.1 
97.5 
92.7 

96.5 
99.3 
98.9 

97.3 

98.1 
100.0 
98.4 
98.1 


97.9 
97.6 
97.1 
98.1 
96.9 

912 
98.6 
99.3 

98.0 

97.8 
96.9 
98.8 
96.7 


97.4 
96.1 
96.2 
97.5 
96.9 

94.0 
99.1 
98.3 

97.2 

96.9 
96.2 
98.4 
96.9 


95.6 
94.1 
92.0 

9& 8 

92.5 
98.3 
97.8 

95.6 

95.0 
96.5 
99.2 
95.1 


91.2 

89.5 
86.4 
90.4 
94.1 

92.8 
95.7 
97.6 

93.2 

91.5 
95.8 
93.1 


84.2 




84.4 




76.3 




82.2 




89.3 




91.6 




V.I 




94.3 


Livestock other than dairy and 


88.8 


General: 


83.7 




KH 5 




89.9 











Index of home facilities. — The 1954 Census of Agriculture 
obtained information relating to whether certain facilities and 
conveniences were in the farm home. The existence of these 
facilities in farm homes provides a general indication of levels 
of household living. As a means of comparing the relative extent 
to which operator families on different types and economic classes 
of farms have been able to have these home conveniences, they 
have been summarized into an index of home facilities. (See 
table 55.) 

The index is based on the following items: Telephone, television, 
piped running water, home freezer, and automobile. Electricity 
in the home was not included since several of the other items are 
directly related to the availability of electricity there and it is 
known that electricity is now available in most of the farm- 
operator homes. The automobile is not thought of as a household 



facility in the same sense as the other items. As a means of 
transportation, however, it represents a convenience that is im- 
portant in indicating relative levels of living. 

In computing the index, the sum of the farms reporting each 
item for each type and class of farm was divided by the total 
number of farms in the group. On this basis the highest possible 
score (if each farm in the group reported each item) was 5. The 
score obtained for each type and economic class of farm was then 
divided by the score for all commercial farms; thus, the index is 
constructed to show each type and economic class of farm as a 
percentage of the average for all commercial farms. 

Table 55. — Index of Specified Home Facilities, Commercial 
Farms By Economic Class and Type, for the United States: 
1954 

[Total commercial farms=100 >1 





Total 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




100 
117 
48 

125 
121 
120 

116 

97 
115 
111 
114 


153 
153 
147 
152 
145 

150 
166 
152 

155 

154 
165 
160 
147 


145 
143 
122 
132 
150 

140 
157 
135 

147 

137 
152 
149 
139 


124 

83 
89 
134 

130 

140 
125 

129 

111 
133 
127 
128 


96 
106 
61 
62 
119 

120 
117 
119 

113 

90 
112 
105 
113 


75 
98 
36 
50 
104 

113 
94 
116 

101 

81 
95 
87 
101 


























65 






Livestock other than dairy and 




General: 


63 








(fit 











1 Index based on farms report ing 1 or more of the following items of specified facilities 
and equipment: Telephone, television set, piped running water, home freezer, and 
automobile. 



With the exception of cotton and other field-crop farms, each 
type of farm was above or approximately equal to the average for 
all commercial farms. The indexes of 48 on cotton farms and 60 
on other field-crop farms indicate that these farms reported only 
about half as many of the specified facilities as most other types. 

Within each type of farm the level of home conveniences was 
related to economic class of farm. This is to be expected since the 
economic classification based upon gross sales may indicate 
roughly relative levels of income. Home facilities and conven- 
iences depend largely upon the incomes the families on these 
farms have at their disposal. For most types of farms the opera- 
tors on Class V and Class VI farms reported only one-fourth to 
one-third as many of the specified items. 

The fact of fewer home facilities on cotton and other field-crop 
farms is due chiefly to the much larger proportion of these types 
that fall in the smaller economic classes. Classes I and II cotton 
and other field-crop farms have an index that is fairly similar to the 
commercial farm average for these classes. For Classes III 
through VI, however, the indexes for cotton and other field-crop 
farms were substantially below the indexes for these 
among other types.