The “sundowner” farmer is here to stay, according to a report from The Context Network. Context President Tray Thomas reports that small farmers may well be a permanent fixture in the ag industry. The company found that 54% of small farmers surveyed rely on off-farm employment for their household’s livelihood. This creates a “lifestyle effect” because farm decisions are not always economically based.

“The study shows that the small farm market is significant,” Thomas says. “Small farms, defined by the USDA as operations with less than $250,000 in sales, still account for 48% of the corn and soybean acreage in the Corn Belt.”