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US Family Farms and Asset Protection

Goals

To understand and quantify how many farmers have an asset protection plan before getting married or remarried and how many probate litigation cases involve family farms in the United States.

Early Findings

We were unable to find any statistical data that is publicly available to quantify how many farmers have an asset protection plan before getting married or remarried or how many probate litigation cases involve family farms in the United States. However, our research on US family farms and asset protection did reveal insights. Here are some key pieces of information we found:

US Family Farms and Asset Protection

  • In the US, 98% of farms are family farms where the majority of the business is owned by the operator and individuals related to the operator by blood, marriage, or adoption.
  • Farm operator households have more wealth than the average U.S. household because significant capital assets, like farmland and equipment, are usually necessary to operate a successful farm business. In 2018, the typical U.S. farm household had $862,000 in wealth.
  • Farm profits are affected by significant fluctuations, and the income volatility of farm households is greater than that of all US households.
  • Farms are so dependent on assets, that without an asset protection plan before marriage, some legal decisions could put a farm out of business.
  • From previous findings and also confirmed, nearly 50% or more of all US marriages end in divorce, and farm couples are not immune to the kind of marital discord that can mean the end of a marriage. In fact, farmers may be more prone to special stresses that can weigh heavily on the health of a marriage. Long hours, unpredictable weather, uncertain income, and living where you work are all additional factors that can add to marital strain for farmers.

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