Almost 94 percent of black farms in the United States have been lost since 1920, and the remaining 57,271 farms constituted only 2.3 percent of all farms in 1978. Most (95 percent) black farm operators were located in the South. However, they constituted only 5.4 percent of all farm operators in the South. Since 1959, there have been some dramatic changes not only in the number of black farms but in their composition also. Ninety three percent of the South's black farmers were small, both in size and product sales, and they operated only 1.4 percent of all operated land. These black farmers were older than their white counterparts and worked fewer days off-farm. Thus most black operated farms in the South were small and they faced several unique problems along with those problems faced by other small farmers. The paper identifies, compares, and contrasts resources and characteristics of black farm operators in the 14 southern states. Relevant unpublished and published census OF agriculture data were used to provide insights into the black farmers in the South. This article provides background material for researchers and policy makers and attempts to identify those voids which may receive emphasis in future work.

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