Corporate Farms

What is a “Factory Farm?”

The term “factory farm” is a misnomer typically used to shed a negative light on modern agriculture. The fact is that 96 percent of farms are family farms or family-owned corporations. Farming is a business, just like owning a hair salon or a local grocery store chain. Many farms and ranches are sole proprietorships, partnerships, and family corporations for tax purposes, but they are still owned and maintained by the family.

How many family farms are in Colorado?

There are about 36,180 farms that stretch over 31.8 million acres in Colorado. The average size of a farm in Colorado is 881 acres. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) 2012 Census of Agriculture, 91.6 percent of farms in Colorado are owned by individuals or partnerships, with 6.3 percent being owned by corporations (2.1 percent defined as “other”).

Do big farms care for the environment?

The vast majority of farmers and ranchers care about the environment. Farmers use techniques like crop rotation, no-till farming, and rotational grazing to ensure that their land will be viable for their children and generations beyond. Caring for the environment not only sustains our vast open space, but also provides habitat vital for 75 percent of wildlife.

Do big farms care for their livestock?

Yes. There is no one who cares more for livestock animals than the very people who raise them. Farmers/ranchers apply the latest research coupled with generations of practical experience to improve the welfare of animals, be better stewards of the environment and provide a better product for their consumers. Colorado’s farmers/ranchers listen to consumer concerns and are constantly evolving their improvement of livestock care and handling practices.

What is the average farmer like?

Farmers and ranchers come from all ethnicities, backgrounds, and economic classifications. Caucasian men run a majority of the farms in the United States, but the number of operators of other ethnicities is on the rise, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service. For example, the number of Hispanic farmers increased nearly 20 percent between 2002 and 2012. The number of women running farms and ranches has also seen a huge increase, up nearly 34 percent from 2002 to 2012. While farming and ranching can be a successful venture, not everyone is able to make it their primary income. Of the 2.1 million farms reported in the USDA’s 2012 Census of Agriculture, 1.1 million of them report something other than farming as their principal occupation.

For More Information on corporate farming:

“Demographic Fact Sheet.” USDA Census of Agriculture
“Corporate Farms vs. Family Farms.” CommonGround.