You will hear much about the importance of small businesses this summer. Candidates running for public office will talk about the role of small businesses in creating jobs, increasing production and contributing to the economy.

When they hear the phrase “small business,” most people think of manufacturing, service or retail shops. But, the face of small business often wears a seed corn cap. Farming is a $15 billion business in the state, and most Minnesota farms fit well within the accepted definition of a small business.

Farming in Minnesota is a family-driven business. USDA statistics indicate that 87 percent of the state’s farms are owned by an individual or a family. Another 10 percent are owned by family corporations or partnerships, most likely for tax or estate planning reasons.

Family ownership is the most common, unifying trait of Minnesota farms. Their skills and interests vary as much as the landscape. As small business owners, Minnesota farmers design an enterprise that takes advantage of their land, potential markets and the skills and work-ethic of their family members.

Source: University of Minnesota