Cows in a field
Cattle graze on grass at the Tuckahoe Plantation, in Goochland County, VA area on Thursday, May 5, 2011. Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture /

Large family farms — ones bringing in more than $1 million a year — produce most of the cattle and hogs in the country, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

A majority of farms in the U.S. are considered small, or having an annual income less than $250,000. But the large-sized farms tend to produce much more.

With beef, the large-scale family farms are more likely to operate feed lots, which concentrate a large number of animals into a relatively small space, according to the USDA.

[Read more: Independent cattle ranchers continue fight against national checkoff program]

But it’s a different story for poultry.

About half of the country’s poultry output comes from small family farms. These farms typically contract with large chicken processing companies to raise birds to maturity.

*Scroll over the bars to see the percentages*

Top photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Type of work:

Sky Chadde has covered the agriculture industry for Investigate Midwest since 2019 and spent much of 2020 focused on the crisis of COVID-19 in meatpacking plants, which included collecting and analyzing...

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