According to the every-five-years USDA Census of Agriculture (the last one in 2017), 96% of U.S. farms and ranches were family-owned. While the latest Census of Agriculture will be released in 2024 and we’ll have fun comparing updated numbers, this statistic confirms that most American farms and ranches are family-owned businesses. Plus, some are large and incorporated to spread risk and scale for profitability, but even then, they are family-owned. 

What’s even more interesting is that some of these long-time family farms and ranches are generational. So, this last Saturday on Rosie on the House’s “Farm Fresh” hour we interviewed the Smallhouse family of Carlink Ranch, located in Southern Arizona. We brought on as guests, Andy and Stefanie Smallhouse and their son, Johnny. If Johnny pursues ranching and carrying on the family tradition, he would be the 6th generation in this 140-year-old ranch business. You can listen to the inspiring radio segment below that will reveal a father genuinely interested in working with his son and a son who is very thoughtful about his role and the future.

The Smallhouse Family of Carlink Ranch: Standing: Johnny, Stefanie and Andy. Kneeling, Hannah, their oldest child. (Photo taken by Joe Boots Media)

Regarding some further statistics about farm and ranch businesses in America, according to the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture: Small family farms account for 88% of all U.S. farms and ranches, 46% of land in farms, and 19% of the value of all agricultural products sold. Large-scale family farms make up less than 3% of all U.S. farms but produce 43% of the value of all agricultural products. Mid-size family farms accounted for 5% of U.S. farms and produced 20% of the value of all agricultural products.

Specifically, for the number of farms and ranches in Arizona, in 2012 this state had 20,005 farms and ranches and in 2017, USDA recorded 19,086 farms and ranches in the state of Arizona. Soon we'll see new numbers. 

Here is the radio segment interviewing the generational ranch family, the Smallhouses.