According to the USDA’s Farm and Land in Farms report published earlier this year, the average U.S. farm size has increased about 10 acres from 2012-2019, to 444.

But the number of farms has decreased by more than 86,000 during that same span. There are a variety of factors contributing to the decrease and the last few years have further challenged some small and mid-size operations to remain profitable.

Consolidation is a trend that Idaho farmer and business consultant Dick Wittman expects to continue in agriculture. The ability to keep pace with the profitability, production and economic resources of larger, corporate farms could force smaller operations to be more efficient with use of technology and equipment, Wittman says.

“The technology we have in ag today is enabling us with a very few number of people to farm several thousand acres very efficiently. Those who have had strong margin in the past, who had a lot of expensive toys that mostly sat in machine sheds and got looked at, they are going to be challenged to recognize that they’re not full-time farms. They are part-time farms and the only way they can stay in business is to share some of those resources with neighbors to get some more hours on combines and sprayers or look at custom hiring or renting.”

You can hear more from Dick Wittman who will part of our farmer panel at the AEI 2021 Executive Briefing. For more information on the virtual event, visit