Incredible stat for the day:
In 2004, there were 2,113,470
farmers farms and 2,131,180 inmates.
Update: Turns out I misread the page and that should be farms rather than farmers.
So how many farmers are there in the US?
The EPA states:
There are only about 960,000 persons claiming farming as their principal occupation and a similar number of farmers claiming some other principal occupation.That would make around 1.9 million primary and secondary occupation farmers.
The BLS has:
Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers held nearly 1.3 million jobs in 2004.Both of these are numbers that are lower than the total number of farms. How is that possible?
This article in the New York Times tells us:
According to the Agriculture Department, nonfarm jobs now account for more than 90 percent of farm households' incomes.The EPA article also mentions that 64.9% of farms (or around 1.3 million) are Residential/Lifestyle, Retirement or Farming Sales < $100,000. According to the USDA these farms only account for 10% of the total value of all agricultural production. The vast majority of these type of farmers do not report farming as their major occupation. Only 35% of the 2.1 million farms (or around 735,000) are large farms that have workers that consider their occupation to be farming. This explains how the number of farmers can be lower than the total number of reported farms.
The prison population of 2.1 million is larger than the EPA's number of 960,000 persons claiming farming as their principal occupation, the BLS's number of nearly 1.3 million farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers, or the EPA's number of 1.9 primary and secondary occupation farmers.