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Beginning Farmers and Ranchers


  • Ahearn, Mary Clare
  • Newton, Doris J.


USDA defines beginning farmers and ranchers as those who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less either as a sole operator or with others who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less. Beginning farmers tend to be younger than established farmers and to operate smaller farms or ranches, some of which may provide no annual production. Beginning farmers often face obstacles getting started, including high startup costs and limited availability of land. USDA—through the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service—provides loans and conservation assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers. This report draws on data from annual surveys and the Census of Agriculture to provide policymakers with a better understanding of beginning farmers and ranchers, including how they contribute to U.S. agricultural production.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahearn, Mary Clare & Newton, Doris J., 2009. "Beginning Farmers and Ranchers," Economic Information Bulletin 58618, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersib:58618

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2002. "Household Food Security In The United States, 2001," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33865, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    Cited by:

    1. Menefee, Seth & Doye, Damona G., 2013. "Barriers to Entry for Young and Beginning Cattle Producers In Oklahoma," 2013 Annual Meeting, February 2-5, 2013, Orlando, Florida 143048, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    2. Vanna GONZALES & Nigel FORREST & Noreen BALOS, 2013. "Refugee Farmers And The Social Enterprise Model In The American Southwest," Journal of Community Positive Practices, Catalactica NGO, issue 4, pages 32-54.
    3. Weber, Jeremy G. & Key, Nigel D., 2013. "Does proprietor wealth influence small business decisions? Land appreciation and farm business borrowing, land ownership, and output," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150408, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Ahearn, Mary Clare, 2012. "Financial Position of Farm Operator Households," Agricultural Outlook Forum 2012 126270, United States Department of Agriculture.
    5. Glenn Pederson & Wonho Chung & Roelof Nel, 2012. "Microeconomic impacts of a state-funded farmer loan program," Agricultural Finance Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 72(1), pages 5-21, March.
    6. Adamowicz, Mieczysław & Szepeluk, Adam, 0. "Support to Young Farmers as Part of Agricultural Policy of the European Union," Problems of Agricultural Economics, Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics - National Research Institute (IAFE-NRI).
    7. Mark Paul, 2016. "Farmer Perspectives on Livelihoods Within Community Supported Agriculture," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2016-13, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    8. Katchova, Ani L. & Ahearn, Mary Clare, 2014. "Farmland Ownership and Leasing: Implications for Young and Beginning Farmers," Staff Papers 184725, University of Kentucky, Department of Agricultural Economics.


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