- The Plate
Farmers Work a Second Shift to Supplement Income
The “average” American farmer earns an income above most Americans—but that’s often because they’re hustling in a second-job off the farm, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week.
Dairy farmers brought in the most money in 2014, earning an average total of $263,757. Next in line were specialty crop farmers—the category responsible for fruits and vegetables—with $223,414. The lowest income farmers? “Other field crops,” a miscellaneous category including smaller-scale crops like hay, silage, barley and millet. Farms producing crops in that odd lot earned an average of $91,469 a year.
On average, though, most farmers supplement their farm earnings with significant off-farm income—policy speak for a second job, like trucking or clerking at a store. For fruit