Farm Sizes: Brazil vs U.S.

Eye-opening figure from Stratfor comparing farm sizes in the U.S. vs Brazil:



  1. Interesting, but rather unsurprising. Superfarms in the US have often grown at the expense of small farms, which are strongly tied to the creation narrative of their home country. I wonder how much of the Brazilian Superfarm's growth comes from burning down the Amazon Rainforest to expose virgin ground. I also wonder how difficult it is in each place for the agricultural giants to push out small farmers from land that they want.

    It would be fascinating to see a further breakdown of this by crop type and import / export volumes.

    • Paul Kedrosky says:

      True. Be good to see much more detailed information. I'll confess,however, I had no idea Brazilian farms were so much bigger than theirU.S. counterparts, but I suppose I should have.

      • I agree, it would be interesting to see a more extensive breakdown, particularly for farms larger than their max comparison. Many farms in Brazil absolutely dwarf the 1,000 acre size listed in the comparison.
        Land is getting snapped up by international companies taking advantage of the improving infrastructure (transportation and processing facilities) and still relatively low prices (although rapidly changing).

    • That explanation doesn’t in any way point toward why it would be this way. If US farms came at the expense of smaller farms then there would be fewer smaller farms. But that’s the exact opposite of what you see. It’s more likely that the majority of small farms in Brazil are *very* small, unlike in the US where we have many mid-sized farms.

  2. Some other interesting points would be: showing how the size of US farms has steadily increased for at least 100 years and showing the percent ownership of Brazilian large farms by non-Brazilians, particularly US citizens from corn and soybean areas.

  3. That's by ownership, not by operator. Leasing or contract farming both exist, there are more US superfarms in practice

  4. Esteban says:

    Brazil has one of the most skewed wealth distributions in the world, i.e., overall wealth is highly concentrated, so I'm not surprised to see that farmland ownership is also highly concentrated.

  5. Michael P. says:

    I’d love to see Australia added to the comparison. They have some truly enormous farms.