It Often Takes Two Income Earners to Raise a Farm: On-farm and Off-farm Employment in Kansas

Sarah S. Beach, László J. Kulcsár


Despite media depictions of U.S. family farms with the entire family engaged in household chores and farming, the reality is that income is often generated from multiple sources. For many farm families, working both on-farm and off-farm is important. Focusing on Kansas, where the majority of farms are family owned, survey and interview data are used to examine if households with off-farm employment differ from those without it. The results suggest that if a farm operation has sales of less than $100,000 annually and it is smaller than 100 acres, or the farmer is younger, more educated or started farming more recently, the chances that they have a household member working off-farm are greater. In addition, numerous challenges to being successful in farming were identified by farmers, and we discuss the implications for farm families.

Keywords: farming; off-farm employment; farm households; United States; Kansas; off-farm income

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