Nationwide, 98 percent of farms are family owned; however, the average South Dakota farm is triple the size of the average American farm â€“ and growing larger. Currently, only farms in Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming exceed South Dakotaâ€™s 1,366-acre average. â€œThere are some farms that are incredibly large, and theyâ€™re still family operations,â€ says Alvaro Garcia, professor and director of South Dakota State Universityâ€™s Agriculture and Natural Resources Program. More than 50 percent of South Dakota farms have sales of less than $100,000 a year. According to South Dakota State University Professor Matthew Elliott, itâ€™s likely that the owners of such operations have a job in town or are farming on the side. Statewide, South Dakota lost 600 farms in the smallest sales class â€“ those selling less than $10,000 a year. â€œSmaller operations, in order to remain profitable, tend to expand. The big ones also tend to expand,â€ Garcia says. Overall, half of U.S. farms have sales of less than $10,000 a year.
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