Farm businesses have grown larger, more complex, and more challenging to manage. These trends will continue in the decade ahead. In 1981 the 4.6% (112,000) of the U.S. farms that had annual gross incomes of $200,000 or more accounted for 49.3% of total cash farm receipts and 86.6% of total net farm income (Table 1). Farms with cash receipts exceeding $200,000 are mostly family farms with over 95% organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships, or family corporationsf Cash receipts of $200,000 can be generated by 800 acres of crops or 125 farrow-to-finish sows or 100 dairy cows or 300 fed cattle or some combination of crops and livestock. These enterprise sizes are about the level needed to gain most of the economies to size. The topics to be addressed here are: why large farms should be part of the farm management specialist's cl ientele; how extension specialists can best serve large farms; and finally what challenges must farm management extension specialists meet in order to be successful in working with large farms.


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