Because of the broad definition of a farm—which includes numerous small operations that produce little or no agricultural commodities in any given year—most farm households earn all of their income from nonfarm sources. However, even those operating farms with substantial production often have significant nonfarm income. Most nonfarm income, in turn, comes from off-farm jobs. Industry and occupation information collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) provides one indication of how the skills demanded and cultivated on the farm influence off-farm employment incentives and opportunities. Consistent with the notion that farming requires substantial management skills, this study finds that when farm operators and their spouses work off farm, they are most likely to hold a management or professional occupation. This is especially true for households operating larger farms.


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