The Center for Farm Financial Management has a brief report that looks at the question, “What Does It Take to Earn a Living on the Farm?” The focus is on Minnesota (the report comes from University of Minnesota extension educator Gary Hachfield), but there may be nuggets to mine for other states as well:
As input costs increase and commodity prices farmers receive fluctuate, profit margins change over time. As these changes occur, farmers have had to change their businesses. Some farmers have gone out of business. Some are farming part-time and work off the farm to supplement their income. Others have gone to alternative farming methods in order to remain in farming. Yet others still farm full-time and they have increased the size of their farms or looked to alternative enterprises in order to remain profitable. Whether we agree or disagree with these changes, the changes are a function of the changing agricultural industry.
Check out the whole thing here.