Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version

April 2005


Published in Cornhusker Economics, 04/20/2005. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 97 percent of the farms in the United States are family farms (Banker and MacDonald). In addition, many agricultural input suppliers, marketing and processing firms, and other agricultural businesses are family-owned or controlled. Among the food processing and wholesaling companies that are family-owned or controlled are Archer Daniels Midland, Campbell Soup, Pilgrim’s Pride, Smithfield Foods, J. M. Smucker, and Tyson Foods (Boland). More generally, over 35 percent of the firms included in the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index are family-held firms (Anderson and Reeb).