Farming Facts

Farming around the world

Of the world’s 570 million farms, 500 million fall into the category of family farms, and of those, more than 475 million are smaller than 5 acres and 410 million are less than 2.5 acres. These farms make up only 12 percent of the world’s farmland.

Between 1960 and 2000, the number of farms, worldwide, has increased, but the average farm size has decreased.

The 16 percent of farms that are larger than 5 acres control 88 percent of the world’s farmland.

In the United States, 90 percent of farms are classified as small family farms, and almost two-thirds of those small farmers either earn their livings from another, nonfarming job or are retired from a job in another field. These small farms produce about 20 percent of the country’s produce.

While on a global level, farmland is distributed unequally, with the minority of farms—the large ones—occupying a vast majority of farming acreage, in low and lower middle income countries and in East Asia, the Pacific, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, the distribution is more equitable.